Deep breath…I'M BAAACK! Woot! Salue amicos cum gratias! LoquitorLatinae here! I'm so happy that I've still been getting reviews for "Haunted". Anyway, here's the first chapter of the sequel, which is promising to be just as romantic, terrifying, dramatic, and cute as its predecessor, if not more! I figured I'd start out with a bang and see where it takes us. Hope you enjoy! I'd love to hear from old friends and all new reviewers! I'm going to make a definite effort to actually reply to every review, last time I was just lazy. :D Oh ya, for all who haven't read "Haunted by an Angel", I'd suggest you read it first before this story, everything will make a whole lot more sense, I promise.
Roxas sighed, readjusting his hold on his backpack strap as he trudged home. It was almost embarrassing really, he did have his license after all. Just no car. But he had gotten a part-time job and was saving up his own money to help pay for it. As soon as he had enough money to pay for the insurance, Leon and Cloud would take him out car shopping. He couldn't wait. He kicked at a pile of dead leaves in the gutter as reached their street, their old house looking almost picturesque at the end of the court settled among the autumn-colored trees.
When he got inside, he was momentarily surprised to see Sora's backpack thrown hap-hazardly to the side of the entrance hall, Riku's messenger bag hung up on the wall hook above it. He had forgotten, now that those two were in college, their classes were always at random times.
Riku and Sora were lounging in the parlor. Riku had a pair of reading glasses balanced on his nose, a book in his lap and one arm draped on the back of the couch behind Sora who was leaning forward as he battled with his video game controller. Roxas snorted, watching Sora yank the poor controller around. "Watch it, it's a PS2, not a Wii."
"But I have to beat the boss. One level left!" With a look of extreme concentration, Sora jerked it up, fighting as hard as his character on the screen.
Rolling his eyes, Roxas dropped down on the couch beside his brother, unzipping his backpack and pulling out his homework. He knew that if he didn't get it done early, it was never going to get finished. "I'm so lucky to have such great role models."
Sora looked away from his game long enough to glance over at his silver-haired boyfriend. "Riku's reading."
Leaning back, Roxas caught sight of the book title. "Treasure Island?"
Riku looked up, his teal eyes still as stunning as always against his pale skin. "I'm acquainting myself with the classics. It's surprisingly good writing so far. And speaking of writing, have you gotten your English essay back yet?"
Nodding, Roxas pulled out a sheaf of paper, a small smile making its way onto his face. "Yep. Got an A. No real surprise after you edited it though."
"I didn't do all that much. You had good points and your writing was very solid. I knew it was going to get good marks." Riku tilted his head to the side. "I still don't quite understand though why my professor looked so surprised when I went to his office with the first draft of my own paper. He kept on questioning me about the strangest things."
Sora grinned, his eyes back on his game. "It's because you write so old-fashioned!"
"Hm, maybe." Smiling, he lifted his hand to fondly run his fingers through Sora's brown spikes, smiling a little when Sora leaned into the touch. "Although that is not so unexplainable."
"Not to us, but it's not like you can tell your teacher you're over a century old…" Roxas muttered.
Riku shrugged. "I suppose they will have to grow accustomed to my style then. And perhaps I will work harder to write more modern." Setting his book aside and taking off his glasses, he stretched, looking down at the glowing digital clock on the VCR. "It's later than I thought though. Isn't Leon supposed to be getting home sometime soon?"
"He probably found a new pile of paperwork or something," Roxas said, the blond jumping a bit as the phone sitting beside him on the side table rang loudly, grabbing for it with a sheepish growl. "That's probably him now. Hello, Strife house." He paused, listening on the other end before rolling his eyes. He had guessed right. "Hey Leon…No, it's fine, Riku and Sora are here too…Alright, well watch out, that building looks like its practically rotting from the inside out…" After a few more words, he hung up, turning back to the other two. "Leon and Yuffie were apparently called to check out that old asylum on the edge of town. He'll be back soon though."
Sora wrinkled his nose with distaste. "That place is creepy. Especially since those huge front doors have those freaky gargoyle handles. I still remember when Tidus dared Wakka and me to go in."
"Did you?" Roxas asked, sitting forward curiously. The place was notorious for being a teenage hang-out, or rather, where all the teens went when they wanted to seem tough. Somehow Roxas couldn't see his big brother or his friends stepping a single foot inside.
"No! It's creepy. Tidus only dropped it after we said that he'd have to go in with us."
Riku sighed. "I remember when they built that place. My father actually took me to its grand unveiling. It was a while back though, while I was still a child. It was quite lovely at the time."
"Why was your dad invited to a place for crazy people?"
"City politics, it was always important to be seen with the most important people. And building an asylum wasn't that unheard of. In fact the one they opened in the city was supposedly one of the most humane; it was even suitable for people with only minor psychological problems." Riku paused for a moment trying to think of a modern comparison. "It was more of a live-in rehabilitation center, although by modern standards I suppose it was actually rather backwards."
Shivering, Sora shook his head. "Doesn't matter what it was. It's freaky now." He let out a cry of dismay as Riku stood up to leave the parlor, waving his hand as the picture on the television immediately went fuzzy. "Riku, go sit down, I'm in a boss battle!"
Riku grimaced but dutifully plopped back down in his seat, making the picture on the television come back into focus as Roxas snickerd. Even after two years, Riku's connection with the supernatural world was still strong, though only in their house. Usually it wasn't much of a problem but they had discovered after several accidents that inside the house at least, Riku and electronics didn't get along. At all. Apparently he still emitted a sort of magnetic field that was usually reserved for ghosts, the kind that unfortunately caused televisions, computers, and anything else that required complicated electronics to act up if they were in his range. Luckily for him, once he left the immediate property, he was only hindered by his own personal ignorance of how to use modern technology, meaning that he had just barely learned how to type up his papers for classes in the college library.
Looking out the window at the darkening sky, Riku sighed, he always forgot how early the sun set in autumn. He could only hope that Leon wouldn't have too much trouble walking around in the building once night fell. As it was though, the sunset was a brilliant mixture of reds, oranges, and pinks. He let out a muffled grunt as he was startled from his thoughts as Sora bumped against him, the younger smiling broadly. "I beat the boss! You are now free to move around the cabin, thanks for waiting."
Shaking his head at the unfamiliar but undoubtedly modern reference, Riku leaned down to peck Sora on the forehead before standing up. "I was just going to go into the kitchen to see what we might have for dinner. If both Leon and Cloud are getting home late we shouldn't make either one worry about feeding us. Care to help me look?"
Sora grinned, putting his game on pause before getting up too. "That's probably a good idea. Hey, we might even have some leftovers still. That would be easy to reheat!" Turning to Roxas, who had also begun to stand up, he wagged his finger teasingly. "You still need to finish your homework like a good high school student. Leave the cooking to us adults."
Roxas frowned, muttering, "Says the person who doesn't even have their license yet and can't boil water without burning it." He ignored Sora's noise of protest as he went back to his homework, silently agreeing that it would be better if he got it done now. Both Cloud and Leon were probably going to be tired from their long days, making a perfect excuse for a movie night. Maybe they could watch a horror movie.
Leon reached to grab his flashlight from the back of the patrol car after glancing at the imposing Neo-Classical façade of the asylum. It was probably going to get dark before they could finish checking the entire place out and he was in no mood to be stumbling around blindly. Yuffie glanced over at him as she pouted in the passenger's seat, poking his side vindictively as he stretched back for the flashlight. "I don't know why I was the one you had to drag here."
Leon swatted her hand away. "Everyone else was on patrol or going over cases. You were baking cookies in the staff room. Besides, there's nothing wrong with the building."
"Hello, Earth to Leon!" Yuffie gestured wildly to the building, "Look at it! It's creepy! It's falling apart! We'll probably be killed by a falling ceiling tile hitting our heads."
Leon rolled his eyes as he shoved his police cap onto his head. "It's not creepy, it's just an old building. Just think of it as a historic landmark." He let out a breath of air as Yuffie crossed her arms and sunk down into the seat, the girl clearly having no intent on leaving the car. "Look, we got a report of teenagers going inside again and if the place is falling apart like you said then we shouldn't let those idiot punks get themselves killed. We can leave as soon as we clear them out and lock the place up."
"But what if it's haunted?"
"It's not haunted, Yuffie. Now get out of the car."
Yuffie huffed but after a few moments finally crawled out of the car, nervously putting on her own blue cap. "Alright, but you better not leave me alone or I'll kick your ass."
Leon didn't reply as they approached the building but he had no doubt that the threat was a serious one. The young woman was small, but she was also skilled at too many martial arts for him to keep track of. It had something to do with a childhood dream of becoming a ninja. Walking up the front steps, he nudged the front door open, peering into the dark atrium before announcing loudly. "This is the Radiant Garden Police. You're trespassing on government property. Come out with your hands up!"
Yuffie snorted beside him, clicking on her own small flashlight as they stepped inside. "You know that never works…"
"It's proper procedure."
Shaking her head, Yuffie gingerly tiptoed over a chunk of plaster that had fallen from the ceiling. The inside of the place matched the dilapidation of the exterior. The large room looked as if it used to be some sort of reception hall. A large, rusting chandelier was hanging from the middle of the ceiling and old benches were thrown about the room, obviously having been moved from their original locations. There was even a sort of reception desk, but like everything else it was covered in a thick layer of dust, the wallpaper behind it broken and peeling. Cobwebs hung from everything and Leon found himself swiping in front of himself every so often to avoid getting one square in the face. The large windows at one point must have brought beautiful light into the room but now they were so covered in grime that it was nearly black inside. Shining his light on the ground, Leon quickly noticed trails of footprints in the dust leading toward a door on the left side of the room. "Come on," he said, "They're this way."
Yuffie sighed, "Why do I get the feeling that they're hiding from us?" Putting a hand on her hip, she called out, "Hey, we know you're in here! That's what happens when you're too noisy, the police come! Why don't you just come out so you won't get in trouble for resisting authority?" She blinked, noticing that during her speech Leon had moved over to the door, "Hey, Leon, what did I say about leaving me alone?!"
The building was larger than Leon had hoped but at least they were getting closer to their targets. Actually, he was getting fairly pissed off; their shuffling and whispers were always just one step ahead of them, it was infuriating. He was not going to go easy on those punks once they finally caught up to them, the handcuffs were definitely coming out. He was also getting angry because he could feel himself starting to get warier with each hallway they walked down. They had become progressively less and less attractive, in fact it now appeared as if they had been led into the hall that was lined with isolation cells. The fact that Yuffie was now clutching onto his sleeve was not helping his nerves any.
"Yuffie, get off."
"No way!" She whispered. She gave a little jump as one of the thick doors beside them squeaked a little, apologizing when her small jump startled Leon as well. "Sorry, I just don't like old buildings!"
Leon shook her off, "I need my arm Yuffie, and so do you." He sighed when he caught sight of her face. "You can walk next to me just don't hang on me."
Yuffie nodded, her eyes widening as she caught something moving out of the corner of her eye, pumping her arm into the air despite her nervousness. "Ha! I just saw something go into the room at the end of the hall. Let's get 'em and get out of here!"
Grimacing, Leon nonetheless followed after the excited young woman, just as surprised as her when they entered the door and found themselves in another large room. Stomping her foot, Yuffie looked around at all the furniture thrown hap-hazardly around the room. "Ugh, this place is so confusing, and it's dark as hell in here too! Oh, I'm going to beat those kids into a bloody mess once I get my hands on them."
Leon shook his head, he had had about enough of this place. It was getting more unnerving by the moment and for the last few minutes he had been getting the sinking suspicion that there were no actual people anywhere in the building. Which left one very undesirable option. Putting his hand on Yuffie's shoulder, he started to move her out of the room. "I've had enough. Let's go, Yuffie."
"But what about-"
"I said, let's go." The low tone of his voice left no room for disagreement and having no real urge to disagree, Yuffie just shrugged and let herself be pushed along. Her foot was on the threshold of the door when suddenly they heard what sounded like a quiet groan from behind them. Both of them stopped, Leon's body going rigid as he gripped onto Yuffie's shoulder. Closing his stormy eyes, he took a quiet breath, he could handle this damn it, it's not like he hadn't seen it before. Reaching down to feel the security of his gun against his hand, he slowly turned around, pinpointing where the noise had come from as an upturned table shifted just slightly from against the wall as if something was pushing against it from the other side.
"Stay behind me, Yuffie, and whatever happens, don't go off anywhere alone," Leon growled, inching toward the table.
"Y-You don't have to remind me!" Yuffie whispered.
They stopped again, halfway to the table when another deep moan came from behind it. Leon noted with a hint of disgust that they had only covered about ten feet. Straightening up resolutely, he strode forward purposefully, like hell he was going to be so intimidated. Letting out a squeak, Yuffie followed after him, hissing quietly, "Leon what are you doing?"
Leon shook his head, steeling himself as he came up to the table before pulling out his gun and in one heartbeat kicking the piece of furniture out of the way. "Police! Put your hands up-" His voice caught in his throat as Yuffie gasped, "Auron?"
Leon hadn't seen the ghost hunter for over a year but the man was clearly not at his best. Blood was trickling down from a cut on his face that was being hidden by some loose hair and his right arm was hanging in what looked to be makeshift sling made from his coat. Letting out a low curse, Leon shoved his revolver back into its holster, kneeling down on one leg to get a better look before barking at Yuffie. "Call for an ambulance on the radio-"
He was cut off again, but this time by Auron who sat up, shaking his head as if to clear it, "Wait, there's no need for that."
Leon frowned. "You might feel differently when you see that gash on your eye. What the hell are you even doing here?"
"I should be asking you two the same question. What time is it?"
Yuffie looked down at her watch. "About six-thirty."
"I haven't been out for too long then." Auron looked down, thinking before he nodded curtly. "Good, we should have some time left before they regain their strength." Frowning, he shifted for a moment before sighing. "I don't suppose I could get a hand up?"
Leon frowned, grabbing onto Auron's left wrist and heaving him onto his feet. The man stumbled, leaning on Leon only momentarily as he gained his balance before straightening up with a grimace. Seeing the pained expression, Leon's frown deepened. "You never did say why you were here, or why you were apparently causing enough noise to get someone to call the police."
"I wasn't making the noise. It was the spirits."
"S-Spirits?" Yuffie asked, her voice breaking as she latched onto Leon's arm again. Leon couldn't really blame her, she had an imagination almost as big as Sora's.
Auron looked at her for a moment as if to try and gauge how well she could handle a supernatural situation before finally nodding. "Yes. I was called in by the city to evaluate the building. As it turns out it's a little more active than I imagined. I wasn't quite as prepared as I would have liked." His eyes drifted down to his right arm before he shook his head. "I only ended up making them angry but before they were able to do any lasting damage I managed to drive them away for the moment."
"Alright. Let's get out of here then." Leon grabbed Auron's good arm and wrapped it over his shoulders before turning to Yuffie, his voice gruff. "Grab onto his coat and don't let go."
Yuffie nodded, grabbing onto Auron's long red coat, her lips pursed together. It was obvious that she didn't know quite what was going on, but she picked up on the tension in Leon's voice and she knew that it had something to do with ghosts. Leon's senses were high strung as he navigated their way back to the entrance, his hand continually wanting to go down to his gun. He knew that it wouldn't help him any against ghosts but it would make him feel more secure to have it in his hand anyway. Auron chuckled when he caught sight of the movement. "If you wanted that to be useful, you should carry rock salt with you."
"Spirits can't stand the stuff, it would at least be able to hold them off for a while. In fact I should really think about carrying one myself."
As they were passing though the cell-lined hall, Yuffie suddenly let out a little squeak, "L-Leon, something just moved in one of those rooms!"
"Ignore it, Yuffie." Leon growled. "Keep your eyes on the floor if you have to."
Leon himself had been ignoring the shadows darting across the walls for the last few minutes. By Auron's grim silence, he knew that the other man was aware of the growing danger of their situation. Moving half a step faster, Leon choked back a curse as he noticed a full fledged shadow peering out of the doorway they just passed, the black figure not two feet away from him. He could almost feel a growing pressure coming up behind them, the feeling that came with interacting with the supernatural crawling up the back of his neck. He hadn't felt that sort of feeling for two years, since Ansem had oppressed their house. It made him feel almost cornered, his whole body bristling defensively.
The door to the main entrance hall was right ahead of them, just a few yards away. Leon's blue-gray eyes widened involuntarily when he saw a handprint appear above the door, the print a dark red as it streaked down a few inches before stopping. Then a second one appeared beside it, streaking down just as the first one. Whatever it was was clearly trying to intimidate them, to keep them from going toward the door. But Leon sure as hell wasn't going to stray from his path to the main exit. Steeling himself, he pulled them through the doorway.
The entrance hall was quiet, but the tension was almost tangible. It felt as if the room was filled with people. Leon realized after a second that he could actually hear them, their footsteps and even a sort of low muttering. Growling, he was about to ask Auron if he would be able to help more with anything when there was a scraping noise from behind them. At the sound of Yuffie's shriek, he whipped around to see one of the benches move an inch toward them before it suddenly rushed forward. Cursing, Leon shoved Auron out of the way, knowing that despite her immaturity Yuffie could take care of herself, and watched as the young woman jumped over the moving bench like it was a hurdle, all three of them watching as it crashed into the far wall. Hearing another shudder of wood scraping against tile floor behind them, Leon readjusted his grip on Auron. "Yuffie. Take his other side."
Yuffie nodded, her face a little pale as she gingerly took Auron's elbow and helped Leon hurry them out of the building. Leon glanced back only once as they hurried to the police car, his body tensing when he saw shadowy forms staring back at him from behind the main windows. His attention was pulled away from the multitudes of faces when Yuffie called out to him. "Leon, don't just stand there, start the car!"
Nodding, Leon wrenched open the door of the patrol car then reached for his cell phone which he had left in the vehicle.
He was going to be home later than he thought.
"Sora, could you get the phone please?"
"Sure, Riku!" Sora ran for the phone as Riku let out a small sigh of relief, the former ghosts's arms submerged in soapy water as he washed out a pot from their first attempt at dinner. As much as Riku loved him, his boyfriend really was a disaster in the kitchen. Even he could do better and he grew up relying on a butler for all of his meals. Shaking his head with a small smile, Riku looked around the kitchen; it was surprising actually how many things had remained the same despite the changing times. Of course, he wouldn't have ever condescended to washing the dishes himself back when he and his father lived in the house; that was what the hired help was for.
He was brought from his thoughts when Sora popped back into the kitchen, his lips set in a cute little pout. "Hey Riku, do we have Axel's phone number?"
"I would think it should be somewhere after everything." Riku paused, tilting his head to the side as he thought. "I can't think of where it is though."
Sora hummed thoughtfully then brightened. "Ah, I know!" Leaning back out of the kitchen, he called out. "Roxas! I need Axel's phone number!"
There was a moment of silence before Roxas's voice echoed back, the tone laced with embarrassment. "Why the hell would I have that freak's number?"
Rolling his eyes, Sora grinned, chirping out in a sing-sing voice. "Stop pretending, Leon needs it!"
Another moment passed before Roxas trudged into the kitchen, shoving his cell-phone into his older brother's awaiting hand, his cheeks tinted pink as he tried to defend himself. "I don't actually call him, it's just for emergencies…"
Roxas bristled then huffed. "We lived in a haunted house, it still practically is haunted. Of course I would have the number of a professional paranormal investigator." Realizing that Sora's grin wasn't faltering and that he had just thoughtlessly complimented Axel, Roxas crossed his arms. "Just give my phone back when you're done."
As Roxas left out of the room, Sora chuckled then walked over to Riku and pecked him on the cheek. Riku smirked though the rest of his face was bemused. "Was that for any reason in particular?"
"Nope!" Sora smiled at him then raised the phone back up to his ear, turning away as he read Axel's number to Leon from Roxas's phone. Chuckling, Riku watched Sora for a moment then went back to washing the dishes. After a second though, he stopped, wondering what Leon could have wanted with Axel.