I do not own 'Ghost Hunt' or the characters. All I own is the plot line and characters that do not appear in the original book/Manga/Anime.
It was a boring spring morning, that is, it was boring in the classroom.
It had been two months since Naru and Lin returned to England with Naru's deceased twin brother, Gene, whom Naru had been searching for, for two years. After that Mai had tried to get on with her life as normal, but it seemed impossible.
She had tried going to movies with friends, studying, Yes you heard me right, Mai Studied, or hanging around telling ghost stories like they used to. But it just hadn't seemed as much fun as it used to be before she started working for SPR.
Without Ghosts, Curses, Voodoo, Exorcisms and generally weird things her life seemed well, so normal. It was boring without Bou-san to tease her, Masako to feel jealous over and Naru to exchange sharp insults with. Come to think of it, Naru hadn't actually insulted her as such. He made his displeasure known through frowning, snapping books shut and treating everyone, including Lin at times, like children, much to Mai's annoyance.
Despite this, she cared for him a lot and would stick by him when he needed it. He had proven that he has his own morals and tried to get everyone out of a dangerous situation unscathed. True, they had had their disagreements in the past, like at Ryokuryou high school; the students had unknowingly contributed to a murder curse aimed at their teacher. It had seemed the only way out of it would be to reverse the curse on the students.
Mai and Naru had fought long on that topic. Of course the teacher was a power crazy reincarnation of Adolph Hitler, but it was no reason to kill him. But the students hadn't known what they were doing; it wasn't right to kill them off either.
Unknown to Mai, Naru had planned to use surrogate Hitogata in place of the students, the case had ended with the teens and teacher safe and they had a memorial service for the deceased student who was the cause of the spiritual activity.
Mai, to her mortification, had a big crush on her boss, Shibuya Kazuya, AKA Naru the narcissist. But it was more than Masako's admiration of his skills and looks. It had just been that at first, but soon she came to care for him as a friend despite their quarrelling. He seemed fond of her too; I mean he had thrown himself into severe danger for her sake more times than most. That meant he liked her, right? Right?
Yeah she wished, to him she was a naïve and unmindful girl who attracted danger like bee's to honey.
"Taniyama-san! Are you listening!? Taniyama-san!"
"Taniyama-san, pay attention please. This is important to next weeks test."
"Ah yes! Sorry"
"Alright turn to page one hundred and twenty four of your books please"
Class dragged on . . .
The bell rang and Mai bolted from the room. Stuffing her books into her bag and dashing down the hall.
"Mai! Wait up!"
Keiko ran up to her, breathing hard.
"You wanna come shopping with us?"
Mai tilted her head and thought for a moment.
"I'm sorry, I'm a bit short on cash at the moment. Maybe next week?"
"I can lend you some"
"Thanks but not this week, maybe later"
Her friend shrugged "Your loss"
"Yeah see ya!'
Mai walked to her apartment and unlocked the door; she opened her book to do some quick revision for her test. Within ten minutes she figured she had done enough and packed up her stationary.
Mai lay down on her bed, she still felt like part of her was torn, like something inside her had been ripped apart.
She still saw Bou-san occasionally when he found time to visit, Ayako sometimes dropped by, John she sometimes went to at Kenji-kun's church, Yasuhara was too busy with university and Masako was at her television studio.
Masako was hurt too, but not as much as Mai was. After all, Mai had no family until she joined SPR, and now that had been torn apart.
She had watched as the gold letters had been removed from the window, as all the furniture was carted out along with the books in large crates and the place was rendered bare.
The tea set was thrown away, but Mai had retrieved them from the dumpster, a few were broken but she fixed them and used them herself. They were a good set and she couldn't waste money on a new one. Besides they were a reminder of the short part of her life that she treasured the most.
Yeah, the part that had me serving tea at his beck and call.
Mai smiled into her pillow sadly and before she realized it a few tears began again. She had long given up trying to stop them, rather than just let them finish.
She wiped her eyes and took a few deep breaths so that she could put on her smile again. Maybe a trip with her friends would do her good after all.
She picked up her phone and dialled Keiko's number.
"Keiko, hi! Its Mai"
"Mai! How are you?"
"Ok . . . I guess"
"Oh . . . "
There was a short silence as both wondered what to say next
"So ah, Mai why'd you call?"
"I do have a little money so I was wondering if you wanted to go to a café for a muffin or something?"
"Yeah sure! Which one?"
"You know the one in dogenzaka?" We could go there"
"Is that alright Mai? I mean . . .It's the one near . . . "
SPR . . . That's right
"I know, wanna come?"
"Err . . . yeah! Meet you there!"
Mai hung up and stared at the cordless phone in her hand, SPR . . . it had been a while since she saw the office.
She shook the memories from her mind, pulled on her shoes and grabbed her wallet; she wore her white skirt, orange pink top and light green jacket. Which she realized was the last thing she had worn before . . .
She slapped her cheeks hard, too hard.
As the pain faded she stood up and left her apartment.
She walked down the familiar route to Shibuya, Dogenzaka.
Keiko called from across the street and jogged over to meet her.
"Ok then let's go!"
Mai picked at her muffin, she sipped her tea and choked on it. Damn memories again!
"Mai? You ok?
Mai didn't answer, just continued poking at her pile of muffin crumbs. Keiko watched her, observing carefully.
"It's about Shibuya-san isn't it?"
Silence, but Mai's eyes filled with moisture.
"Come on, its been two months. Just try to get on with life. I don't think he'd want you to be upset"
"That's just it! I don't think he cared!"
"But he saved you, and smiled at you. Believe me I think Shibuya-san cared for you a great deal"
"He lied to me though, about his real identity"
"You mean about how he's that Psychic guy from England? He had his reasons"
"You're right, but it doesn't change the fact that he's not coming back"
I pity the person watching this Keiko thought what is this? A teen drama?
"You right though, I've moped enough, and I should pick myself up and keep going"
Keiko smiled, it seemed the old Mai was pushing through. They went back to their tea and though Mai winced as she drank it, it didn't seem so painful. They held a comfortable silence for a while, and then started talking about everything and nothing. As they usually did on their outings, Keiko even managed to make Mai smile. She began to think that maybe things would turn out ok after all.
Suddenly Mai froze, she stared off behind Keiko.
The table swayed dangerously as Mai tore herself from her chair. Said piece of furniture crashed to the ground and tangled around Mai's foot. She fell over but picked herself up and continued forward. Leaving her friend completely mystified and the café's occupants staring.
Mai forced herself to run, unheeding of her ragged breaths and aching legs.
She followed the black van she had seen, now that she thought about it that voice of doubt was running through her mind. Try as she might she couldn't stop its insistent whining.
It can't be, that van was quite common
One more street
He left you; he's not come back
The old office building was in sight
What reason would he have?
He doesn't care enough to return; if he did he would call ahead, wouldn't he?
There's no way it could be!
There it was
The black van was parked outside the office building
It was definitely SPR's van. She would recognize it anywhere.
But . . . .
Then he stepped out of the office building.
They saw each other in the same moment.
The stillness between them lasted for the longest time. Mai didn't speak, she couldn't.
So many questions were running through her mind, each fighting for space, she opened her mouth and closed it just as quickly. She couldn't say the first word because she didn't know what to say.
Is he happy to see me?
Or does he not care?
Shibuya Kazuya simply stood there; a slight breeze swept his hair. For once his face was indecipherable. Most times Mai could read his expressions as he did have them, even though they were subtler than most peoples.
He put down the box he was holding and walked over to her.
Naru stood in front of her,
"Are you going to stand there forever?"
Mai jumped at the sound of his voice.
". . . . Why. . are . . .why?"
"I decided to return, England has too few paranormal phenomena for my liking"
Naru suddenly found himself with Mai's arms wrapped around his middle as Mai launched herself into him.
"Mai. . . "
"I'm sorry Naru, I know you don't like this sort of thing but . . . . Just for now?"
He dropped his arms and they hung by his sides, he stood immobile while Mai cried quietly.
She's never wept for herself before . . . .I don't understand
Mai pulled away and wiped her eyes.
"Sorry Naru, I'm just happy to see you"
For just a moment, one of Naru's true smiles flickered across his face. His eyes softened and his mouth relaxed.
Mai was surprised for a moment before smiling back.
Then Naru's mask was back in place. He turned away back to the box he was unloading from the van. Mai stood there, blinking.
W-what? Did he . . .? Yeah what did I expect? It IS Naru
"Ah . . .Naru?"
He made no movement but she knew he had heard her.
But where's . . . . ?
The door opened again and a familiar tall figure stepped into view.
He looked up and a small smile appeared.
"Taniyama-san, it is good to see you again"
"Yes, um why didn't you call?"
Lin's face blanked and he glanced at the young president of SPR who was currently unloading a couple of monitors. He ignored his assistants, both current and former.
Lin looked at her and shrugged. Mai grinned.
"Er . . .yes?"
"Take this inside, help set things up with Lin"
Mai didn't speak but took the box Naru pointed to and followed Lin up the stairs.
It occurred to her that since she was no longer his employee she needn't carry out his orders. But at the moment she was still trying to get over the shock of the past few minutes.
The old room was being used and Mai felt strange walking in without all the books and equipment
Mai silently helped Lin set up the offices.
She was kind of nervous, her and Lin had never been particularly friendly with each other.
Can I talk to him? He might not want to. He never was very sociable. But during the last few cases he seemed a bit more relaxed.
"Taniyama-san, are you alright?"
Lin had paused in setting up his laptop. He was looking at her quizzically. It surprised Mai, as he never seemed to be someone who showed expression.
But then again she had never really looked before; he was always in the background, never getting attention at all, except when they needed his Onmyouji skills.
Then they never thanked him.
That must be lonely . . . .
"Yes I'm ok, I really missed you guys."
Lin paused for a moment, he seemed rather unsure of what to reply.
"Is it true that you came back for the amount of paranormal activity over here?'
"That is how it appears"
"Oh, I'm very glad too see you again"
"It is good to be back," Lin agreed.
Mai was unsure of what to do again; she doubted Lin would appreciate it if she launched into him with a hug as she had done with Naru. He hadn't seemed too pleased about it.
Lin blinked; she had definitely taken him back.
"What for Taniyama-san?"
"Um . . ."
What had she been apologizing for, exactly? There were a number of things.
"For injuring you"
Mai decided right then that she had too options: One: run away! Or, this one that took more guts Two: Continue the current conversation.
Oh boy, this is really awkward
"For a number of things, I seem to cause you trouble all the time." Mai took a deep breath as she continued.
"First when I injured you at our first meeting, then several times when I got into trouble and you had to get me out of it, then insulting you during the case at the former prime ministers mansion and for basically ignoring you! I really very, very sorry! I don't blame you if you hate me right now. Please forgive me"
Mai stopped and caught her breath. The current silence was discomforting. Lin was looking at her strangely.
Just what is he thinking?
Then Lin was laughing, Mai just stared at him, shocked.
Lin-san is . . . laughing . . . . Scary. Wait did I miss something?
Lin had stopped his sounds of amusement. He smiled again which was new, usually he smiled briefly and that was polite and reserved. This was the first time he had actually smiled fully and honestly.
"Taniyama-san, that's quite alright. You were not to blame for most of those things. The first incident was an accident and if anything I should apologize for my rude behaviour towards you, however you do tend to rush into things without thinking them through, in future you might try to improve on that."
Mai wasn't quite sure what to say, it seemed this conversation would contain silence aplenty.
"You did not intend to insult me during the prime ministers case, therefore you need not apologize"
"But I still ignore you, I never try to speak with you, no one does."
"We are currently conversing, and I often choose to isolate myself. So you are not entirely to blame"
Mai was silent; she just nodded slightly and went back to organising the papers that she was currently trying to make sense of. Really why couldn't Naru put everything in the same language? There was some in Japanese and a few in English and many more she had never heard of. Sure maybe Naru liked to show how clever he was, Mai couldn't think of any other reason why he would go to the trouble, but it made things very hard to file.
"That one goes over here Taniyama-san, it's about German summonings"
"So its in German?"
Mai grinned; she suspected Lin was just as frustrated with Naru as she was at times. She wondered how the hell he put up with the jerk; after all they lived under the same roof. Maybe Lin used his Shiki to put up a barrier against death glares or something, she could think of no other explanation. She wouldn't ever ask Lin for the truth of the matter, it was private and she really didn't want to know.
The door opened and Naru entered, Lin left to get more boxes. Mai ignored him; he probably wouldn't want to talk to her.
Mai automatically headed towards the kitchen, only to find there were no teacups, kettle or even tea leaves to speak of.
She turned around, steaming, only to find Naru looking at her with amusement.
"Hey! You did that on purpose!"
"Your fault for being so absentminded"
For some reason Mai felt both angry and upset with his behaviour. She had never really taken Naru's attitude personally before; sure she got mad, but never felt like crying before.
"Hey, you know you could be a bit nicer!"
"Yeah not making fun of me the moment I arrive! I really missed you guys and you act like nothing happened, I still haven't forgiven you. How could you lie like that?!"
Naru's face grew impassive; he didn't speak for a long moment. Then he sighed.
"So you're angry"
"A little yes, but more than that, I don't know how you can act like you never left"
"It was only two months, not long enough to matter"
Mai still felt sad for some reason.
Naru looked at her as her face struggled to smile and push down the misery, she was never very good at hiding her feelings, not that she tried. He had always been extremely reserved at everything; the only one who could make him open up had been his brother, Gene, who was almost like the other part of his soul. He knew this made no sense, as they were opposites in every way, but somehow Gene was someone who he could talk to, he was the only one who could actually drag him away from work. Madoka was close, but for all her chiding she could never get him to leave his desk. Even though Naru often emitted a dark aura for a few minutes he eventually would stop frowning and allow himself to relax slightly in Eugene's company.
Now that Gene was gone there was nothing to drive away his dark moods, drag him from his solitude and help him solve something that he would never understand.
It was almost like our opposite halves made one being that could achieve anything.
Mai was still struggling to come to terms with her feelings of melancholy; Naru walked over to her and folded her in a warm hug. It wasn't something he did, completely out of character for him. But it was the sort of thing Mai would do; therefore he concluded that it was the best way to comfort her.
He vehemently hoped that Mai would not respond badly to this as she did with Bou-san.
"N-Naru . . .?
"What is the matter?"
"U-Um . ."
He still had her in his arms; Mai was surprised to say the least.
"You don't . . . I . .n-never thought . . .you . . .come . . . back . . I"
"Mai you're not making any semblance of meaning, I speak many things, but gibberish is not one of them"
Mai tensed up and tried to pull away, he let her go and she pushed back to glare at him poisonously.
"You suck at comforting people you know that?!"
Naru smirked "I am trying though'
"Normally when people comfort others they don't insult them!"
"Maybe not" Naru admitted.
"You had the first bit right though"
The smirk stopped and turned once again into a smile, "I guess I'm improving then"
Naru turned away and went back to work "Mai instead of standing there get the kitchen set up"
Naru paused and as Mai was passing him he stopped her again.
"Mai, you don't have to. You are no longer my employee"
Does this mean he's firing me? Does he want me to leave?
"Are you firing me Naru?"
Naru's dammed mask was there again. He looked at her with an expression of annoyance on his face.
"No, I am offering you the position of a part time investigator"
"Investigator? But I'm, I mean I was-"
"Administrative assistant is a waste of your skills, as you are equipped with various ESP powers investigator is a better role for you to play."
"So what are my jobs?"
"Your current duties plus the obligation to use your powers as I deem necessary"
"Basically the same as I have now!" Mai stated, pouting.
Mai thought for a moment, "Does investigator mean no more filing?'
"I believe Yasuhara-san could take care of that, he certainly could do no worse than you"
"Mai, go buy some tea from the store, get the money off Lin"
Mai scowled as Naru went back to work, completely ignoring her.
Lin looked up in surprise as Mai stomped out of the office block to the van. She looked cross but at least that was better than her being miserable.
"Naru wants me to buy tea, could I trouble you for some change Lin-san?"
"Of course Taniyama-san"
As Mai accepted the coinage he held out to her an idea hit her.
"Lin-san, do you prefer Chinese tea? Should I get some as well?"
Lin smiled, it seemed she was attempting to amend her mistakes already.
"I am partial to Jasmine as well as green tea and I'm sure Noll likes English tea. Thankyou Taniyama-san"
"No problem, I'll get those"
Noll, the English version of Naru. Maybe I should call him that instead . . . No! Naru the narcissist suits him perfectly! He sticks with that whether he likes it or not! Serves him right!
Mai walked towards the nearby store, her depression far behind. She felt lighter and her sorrow from the past two months lifted with each step.
Naru was still as much of a jerk as always, but that didn't bother her.
It doesn't matter, I'm just glad he's back
Edited! I hope this is better than it once was, it was a bit painful to read for me.
I am now continuing.
I'm not very good at comedy so just bear with me. I hope the characters are in character, I find it more fun to write stuff that might actually happen rather than just dreams.
For those who don't know, Hitogata are wooden figurines used for invoking curses, warding off evil or illness and other uses that require a replacement for a person.