Disclaimed: Ghost Hunt is not mine.
Italics denote thoughts.
"Erm … well … I don't really know … but … ah … never mind. I think it's just my imagination. Heh heh."
"N-no way! I mean, why would he? You must be kidding me, Keiko."
"Well … maybe … a little bit."
He sighed and resumed his typing, ignoring in his usual fashion the part-timer's suddenly shy voice that filtered in through his closed door. From the sounds of it, she was talking about a boy, no doubt about that.
A frown marred his face for an instant. She seemed to be doing a lot of that lately; this wasn't the first time he had heard her talking on the phone with her friend Keiko about that during her lunch break.
Somewhere at the far, far back of his inquisitive mind, he wondered about the person she was talking about. Was it someone he knew? Or was it someone from her school? He had a sinking suspicion that the latter was true.
Picking up a file, he flipped it open, leafing through the pages in search of the article he needed. Who Mai was interested in and vice versa had nothing to do with him.
A little voice in the deep abyss of his heart (yes, he has one contrary to popular belief) said otherwise but he silenced it swiftly and mercilessly.
"I guess it just wasn't meant to be."
A soft sigh sounded before she spoke again.
"I don't know, perhaps the problem is with me."
"No, no, I meant it. Subconsciously, I … I kept comparing Yuuta-kun with … him."
That caught his attention and he looked up from the book he was reading. The one named Yuuta he knew, having seen him once before when Mai brought him around and introduced him to them as her boyfriend.
From the sound of it, they must have broken up pretty recently. How long had they been dating again? Ah, yes, about two months if he remembered correctly.
It's about time the two separated. Mai's supposed to be with me in the first place, a snide little voice that sounded very much like his own said. He quashed it ruthlessly.
But her words got him wondering. Just who exactly was the 'him' that she was talking about? He had no idea, and here he thought that he knew everything there was to know about the brown-haired girl.
For instance, he knew she liked the color yellow, her favorite ice-cream is green tea although she prefers double chocolate chips ice-cream when she's feeling down (like now), a short frilly white skirt coupled with a pale pink tank top is her favorite outfit, she has a habit of biting on her lower lip when she's nervous, her eyes light up when she's happy, she doesn't bat an eyelid when coming face-to-face with ghosts and spirits yet screams like a banshee when she sees a tiny spider, she absolutely loves hot chocolate with loads of marshmallows no matter the weather, she's wonderful with children, and she –
He stopped himself short before he could go any further, his dark brows knotting themselves together. Was it healthy to know so many things about the girl? He doubted it.
Work. He had to get back to work. It wouldn't do to be thinking about the petite girl outside when he should be working.
However, the idea of Mai thinking about another guy unsettled him and he found himself unable to concentrate on anything for the rest of the day.
"I don't know, Keiko. You saw what happened with Yuuta-kun, didn't you?"
"Yeah, you're right, I suppose. It really feels kind of pointless to be so into him sometimes when he doesn't even know that I exist except for certain times."
"Yeah, you know what, maybe I should give Kenji-kun a chance."
He didn't hear the rest of the one-sided conversation.
A part of him felt angry that someone could be so dense as to not know the existence of such a wonderful girl who happens to like him very much, the lucky bastard. Another part, on the other hand, wanted to go out and give the girl a good shake, asking, no, telling her to take a good look at him, the one who has been thinking about her consistently ever since the day he met her two years ago.
He let out a sigh as he leaned back in his chair. In a way, he was like Mai, except for the whole giving someone else a chance part.
He didn't want to give anyone except for Mai a chance, end of story.
A feminine giggle reached his ears and unconsciously, he quirked an eyebrow at the sound.
"Well … he took me to this really cozy little restaurant in Shibuya. It's quite near where SPR is but I didn't even know it existed until yesterday."
"Kenji-kun was very nice, a perfect gentleman. Oh, and he gave me this huge bouquet when he came to pick me up."
"Yeah, sweet huh?"
"Oh, after that we walked around a bit before he sent me home."
"N-Nothing! Get your mind out of the gutter Keiko or I'm not talking to you anymore!"
He closed the file he was perusing and returned it to the shelf. So she went out with the one named Kenji last night, huh? He should have seen that one coming seeing as how she was talking about giving the Kenji guy a chance last week.
Half-heartedly he berated himself for not having the courage to ask Mai out for a drink much less a date.
She'd never agree to go with me anyway, he thought to himself.
He stood at the window of his semi-dark office, eyes focused on the street below. Sure enough, a few minutes later, SPR's part-time assistant appeared, a dark-haired young man by her side. As always, Mai looked very pretty and he allowed himself a small smile.
However, his dark eyes narrowed when the young man bent his head to whisper something into her ear while casually putting his arm around her shoulders. Whatever he said must have made Mai very happy because she smiled so brightly that the sun paled in comparison.
Subconsciously, he curled his hand into a fist. Seeing that guy touching his Mai in such a way made his blood boil and were it not for his self-control, the guy, Ken-something-or-other, would be in a hundred little pieces floating in the ocean by now after he cut him up slowly and painfully with a doctor's scalpel.
He took a deep breath and relaxed himself. Being jealous of and having murderous thoughts about Mai's current boyfriend does not become him.
"I'm going out to lunch," he called out.
He was already out the door before anyone replied, not that he expected one. SPR's other dark haired male didn't really care what he did most of the time.
He shot awake, his breath coming out in erratic pants. His body was covered in sweat and on his forehead, clumps of his dark hair stuck stubbornly. Around him, the sheets were twisted into an unrecognizable mess.
Mai, he had been dreaming of her again. The latest dream had been even more intense than the one he had the night before. What kind of dreams were they? Well, let's just say that they weren't meant for anyone below the age of 17.
He dropped his head back onto the pillow. Of late, he had been thinking of Mai so much that it was hard to concentrate on his work. And whenever she went out on a date with the guy Kenji, he found himself trying his utmost best to refrain from going after them or better yet, separating the two of them and claiming Mai as his own.
Claiming Mai as my own …
That thought brought to mind vivid images from his dream where Mai lay beneath him on his bed, clad only in –
He let out a silent groan and stared up at the ceiling. Mai, what have you done to me?
Perhaps it would be more prudent to simply let his heart do whatever it wanted, namely, fall in love with a certain teenage girl.
"Excuse me, is there a Taniyama Mai-san here?" a voice asked.
"She isn't here yet," he answered.
"Well, then could you please receive these on her behalf?" the young woman asked, holding up a large bouquet of roses.
He nodded and deliberately scrawled something unintelligible on the receipt that was handed to him.
"Where should I put this, sir?" she asked.
He gestured to Mai's desk wordlessly. Once the bouquet had been set down, the young woman left with a bow and a goodbye. He ignored her.
The sight of the flowers on Mai's desk had him scowling. Didn't the idiot know that Mai preferred sunflowers to roses? He had half a mind to trash these flowers and replace them with a larger bunch of sunflowers that he bought. The only thing that prevented him from doing so was the fact that Mai would definitely not be happy if she were to find out that he had just destroyed the flowers that her boyfriend sent her.
He sighed. Besides, he just knew that Mai wouldn't accept flowers from him because she only saw him as her –
It was best not to go there. Thinking about it hurts.
Maybe tomorrow he'll let her know about his feelings for her.
Tomorrow became another tomorrow followed by yet another tomorrow. Before he knew it one month had turned into two months that soon morphed into three.
His only excuse was that it had been a very busy three months for SPR owing to a higher than usual number of paranormal cases that needed investigating.
The upside to it all was this: Mai had broken up with the roses giving boyfriend in between one of the cases. He overheard her telling Ayako and Takigawa about it one day.
He let out a sigh, dimly noting that he had been doing so very often lately.
Mai is currently single and available, so what better time to reveal his feelings to her than now? However, it was easier said than done. Having the courage to face demons and vengeful spirits is one thing but revealing the feelings that you have kept hidden for the past year or so to the woman you love is another thing altogether.
He suddenly had an insane urge to bang his head upon the table. It shouldn't be that hard, right? If other guys could so easily ask Mai out on a date, then why can't he?
He took in a deep breath and prepared himself. I can do it.
He was about to stand up from his chair when Mai's voice filtered in through the closed door. From the sound of it, she's talking to her friend on the phone again.
Well, I can always wait until she's done, he thought as he settled himself into his chair once again.
An annoying little voice at the back of his mind told him that he's procrastinating. He stuffed it into a duffle bag weighed down with lead and sunk it into the sea.
"No, I'm not interested in seeing anyone now, Keiko."
"W-Well, he … er … he's a different story."
"Yes, I-I mean, no, I mean, oh … I don't know."
"Maybe. But he'll never ask me something like that, so … "
"Huh? I tell him? You must be crazy Keiko!"
"Well, sorry to disappoint you but I didn't have the guts then and I still don't have the guts now."
"I swear you're out to make my life miserable Keiko! It's not so easy!"
"Yeah, you can say that again. I can already picture the look on his face and hear the words that he'll say when I walk up to him and say something like that."
"Naru's not like other men, Keiko. He's … different."
Inside his office, he felt his heart come to a grinding stop. She did not just say what he thinks she did, did she?
"Naru is … well, Naru. And I guess that's why I like him."
The pieces clicked into place easily. The mysterious 'him' that she had been referring to on and off was none other than … himself.
The little voice that he thought he had heard the last of made its appearance again, this time jubilantly boisterous as it shouted out happy cheers. He didn't know how to react. A part of him wanted to do nothing but bang his head on the table continuously for having lived up to his nickname of 'the idiot scientist' while another part of him wanted to go out and kiss the girl senseless.
The latter was more appealing.
Mai looked up and said a hurried goodbye to Keiko when Naru threw open the door to his office so hard that it was a miracle it didn't fall off its hinges.
"Wh-What is it, Naru?" she squeaked out. Speak of the devil … what is he doing out here at this time?
He was striding towards her with an unreadable expression on his face.
Wait, I'm not late in making his tea am I? But I didn't hear him call! I must've gotten carried away with Keiko!
Mai's self-preservation instincts kicked in immediately and she shot out of her chair, making a beeline for the kitchen while saying, "SorryIdidn'tseethetimeI'llgomakeyourteanowdon'tfireme-"
Whatever she was saying (he couldn't catch even a word although he thought he heard something that resembled 'tea' and 'fire' somewhere) died a premature death when he grabbed her wrist just as she brushed past him.
His lips covered her own, successfully muffling anything and everything that she wanted to say, not that she could form a coherent sentence now even if she tried.
Her eyes widened for a brief moment before sliding shut, the feel of Naru's lips on hers sent sparks of electricity down her spine. His kiss was surprisingly passionate for someone so cold, as if he was pouring all his pent-up feelings into it.
It was just too much to handle but they felt absolutely wonderful so she gave herself over to them readily. A tidal wave of emotions that she had never before felt washed over her as she responded to his kiss with equal fervor. Was she in a dream? If the answer is yes, then she didn't want to wake up forever.
Naru's tongue did a wicked little move against hers and all her remaining thoughts flew out the nearest window. His hand had long left its place on her wrist to travel up her shoulder before sliding down her back in a sensuous motion, a move he performed repeatedly.
Mai let out a soft moan when he wrapped an arm around her slim waist and pulled her soft body to his hard one. Her hands had somehow found their way into his hair, her fingers messing up the dark locks.
Naru pulled back after what seemed like an eternity for them to take in some much needed air. With no small amount of satisfaction, he noted the somewhat dazed look on Mai's flushed face. Long fingers ghosted up an invisible trail on her bare arm and he smirked as he felt her shiver in his hold.
Tilting his head, he placed a kiss on her cheek before trailing his lips downwards to her creamy neck. Mai smelled delicious today, like apples and sunshine, a fact that he wasted no time in letting her know by whispering into her ear appreciatively.
Mai let out a surprised gasp at his husky tone and blushed furiously. Naru simply smiled as he leaned his forehead against hers, his blue eyes staring deep into her cinnamon ones. Gently, she cupped his face in her hands, marveling at the swirl of emotions that lay behind his dark eyes. At that particular moment, she really felt as if she could see all the way into Naru's soul.
Just as he was about to claim her sweet lips once again, Mai stopped him by lightly pressing her fingers to his lips. He fought the urge to nip at her dainty fingertips.
"What was that for, Naru?"
Naru quirked an eyebrow at her, not fully understanding her question even though he was, after all, a genius. But his mind was currently off somewhere on a nice holiday so genius or not, the only thing he knew now was that 'Mai' and 'kiss' goes hand in hand.
"That kiss, Naru. I-I mean, it was nice, well, more than nice, and all but why all of a sudden …"
She trailed off at the smug look on his face.
"So you liked it huh?" he stated, more than asked. "You've got good taste."
Mai narrowed her eyes at him and jabbed hard at his chest with a finger. Too bad it hurt her finger more than it hurt him.
"That's why you like me."
Mai blushed. "How did you know?"
"Because you're mine, Mai," he replied with a quick peck on her lips.
"He took me out again last night after work to this fancy Italian restaurant."
"Yeah, he even gave me flowers. Sunflowers. I wonder how he knew that they're my favorite."
"After that? Well, we walked for a while in the park near his apartment-"
"N-No! I-I mean, well, we did go up to his place but we did nothing of the sort Keiko!"
"Of course! I-I mean, yeah, we shared a little kiss but that's all! Jeez Keiko, get those thoughts out of your mind will you?"
"Hey, my lunch break's almost over. So I'd better hang up now. Yeah, I'll talk to you some other time and keep you posted. Bye, Keiko!"
The minute she ended the call, the demand for tea came from behind a certain closed door. Mai smiled to herself. Some things never change.
She had barely put the cup of tea down when he trapped her between his body and his desk, his arms on either side of her.
"N-Naru?" she squeaked when he began nibbling on her earlobe.
"So what we did on my couch last night was just a little kiss, huh?" he whispered into her ear.
Her brown eyes widened in surprise. Had he overheard everything she said to Keiko?
"N-No, I-I was just-"
Her brain turned to something that resembled cotton candy and she forgot everything she was about to say when he began planting butterfly kisses along her jaw.
"Then I guess I'll just have to show you something more intense than that, right?"
A/N: Well ... I didn't expect something like this when I first got the idea for a new fic. coughsmutcough Tell me what you guys think okay?