Chaos. Pure Chaos.

After Shichiro made his statement the forest came alive. Growling surrounded them. Through the bushes slide the bodies of decayed animals in all stages. Some animals could barely walk or crawl they were so ravaged by time. The animals that still had eyes looked at the group of SPR with a terrible hunger.

The SPR group immediately scrambled up off the ground and formed a tight circle, backs facing each other. They got to work. Naru still faced Shichiro out side of the SPR circle of protection.

"I am not some pansy that is afraid of what you are."

Shichiro grimaced and hardened his face. "I need that teacher and you took him away from me when I almost had him!"

"No, you were killing him. Your own stupidity just couldn't see that."

Shichiro's face grew enraged he made as if to tackle Naru.

Naru caught him, eyes blazing with power and held Shichiro up by his throat.

"As I said you are underestimating me."

Naru pulled him down and with his free hand pinched a nerve in Shichiro's neck; he went limp. Naru then laid him on the ground and kneeled on his neck, disregarding the fight that was going on around him.

"I am going to spare your life." He whispered in his ear. "Not because I want to but because that girl that is laying over there would think less of me and I am not going to cause her any more distress then you already have." He kneeled hard on the side of Shichiro's neck and Shichiro passed out.

Naru glanced up from his fight and assessed the fight around him. SPR was winning and surprising enough it was because of Ayako. She had used the distraction of John and Bou-sans quick exorcisms to perform her more lengthy ritual to bring out the purifying tree spirits. The trees spirits were kicking butt! The animals were falling to the ground lifeless and once more just a rotting body. Masako stood behind the group, kimono sleeve to her mouth. Her eyes were deep and full of thought. Obviously what ever filled the animals was not the original spirit.

Lin was standing over Mai's body and had protected her during the fight. Now that the animals were being cleansed by Ayako he was kneeling down at Mai's side. He had pulled the ravaged shirt together to give her some semblance of privacy. Naru went to them, pulling off his over shirt and handing it to Lin. Together they helped put it on Mai's limp body. He was worried. Her breathing was a soft painful gasp. Naru picked her up and started to walk her back to the house, careful to not jar her.

"John, Bou-san, Ayako we are leaving with Mai she needs medical attention. Please stay here and make sure no animals are left to wander. Lin, pick up Shichiro, we can tie him up at the house and take care of him later. Masako come with us, you will be needed later." He said this as he was walking.

When they got to the house Shichiro's' father Isamu and brother Mamoru were there.

"What happened!?" Isamu exclaimed looking alarmed at the unconscious bodies of Mai and Shichiro. Lin put Shichiro's body on a couch.

"I need you to call an ambulance for the girl. While we wait I will explain what your son has done."

"My son!" He looked taken aback surprised.

"Yes, I am assuming from his name which means "seventh son" that he is indeed the seventh son, possibly even the seventh son of the seventh son?"

Isamu's face suddenly went haggard. "Hai."

"Father! What are these men getting at! What is wrong!?" Mamoru demanded.

Isamu turned to his son and said "don't you know that it always the seventh son of the seventh son who has great powers?" He turned to Lin and Naru who had refused to put Mai down. "I am assuming you have found out then what his powers are?"

"Necromancer."

"Oh lord not that! Anything but that!"

"What? What is wrong with that!?" Mamoru demanded.

Lin answered. "A necromancer walks a fine line between dark and light. What he does is inherently dark; it is the disturbing of the dead. But it can be of light when it is done through spirits and to put a disturbed dead to rest. He needs a teacher. If fact tonight was about him trying to take one. I will admit he has started to cross the line… but we know of a necromancer who could keep him in line and teach him."

Isamu's face looked up with hope.

Lin nodded at him. "We will contact our friend, until then you will need to keep him under surveillance. We knocked him out to prevent more harm. Mamoru… you will need to keep an eye on him and you will accompany him on his journey. He will need your companionship to work through the guilt that will hit once he learns of how easy it was to get a teacher and the unnecessary hurt he has caused."

Naru cut in, his face hard and mean. "And if he tries to contact Mai again without letting us know I will truly hurt him as he deserves for his transgressions against my people." He let that sink in to the men while the sounds of the ambulance got closer.

"Masako, please stay here to inform the rest of the group of our decisions, please also let them know of what hospital to go to." She nodded, quiet in the face of his anger. Men came rushing in taking Mai's body from Naru. As soon as he let go she stopped breathing in a soft sigh. Everyone got frantic at that point. They laid her out on the portable bed and immediately inserted a ventilator to force her to breath. Then rushed her out of the house into the ambulance, Naru jumped into the ambulance with them and held her hand. She started to breathe better again. They left. Lin hopped into the car and took off after them.

******************************************************

The next couple of days in the hospital were a nightmare, every time Naru let go of Mai's hand she stopped breathing. He grew paler and dark rings circled his eyes. Bathroom breaks were carefully planned. He slept next to her head pillowed in his arm. The nurses exclaimed that they had never seen anything like it before.

After the group had cleaned up the clearing with the dead animals they had quickly followed to the hospital. Shichiro was on his way to France to join a well known Necromancer and become his student. Mamoru went with him and both were surprised to learn that Mamoru had a soft ability to move items, PK. It had protected him from Shichiro's new abilities and enabled him to be a protector of sorts for the emotionally vulnerable Shichiro.

And Mai still was in a coma.

*****************************************************

"Where am I?" Mai asked softly looking around. Instead of the dark plane with floating lights she was in a white void. She walked around. Not a sound in the place, not even her footsteps. Suddenly Naru was in the distance a black spot in an otherwise pristine void.

"Naru!!" She screamed waving frantically she started to run towards him. When she got next to him she leaned down panting from the exertion. Then she looked up at him a big grin on her face. "Am I glad to see you! Where are we?"

He looked at her sad. "We are in between. Neither dead nor really alive. I am guessing what is keeping us from passing is the real Naru. My connection to him and your love for him." Mai looked surprised. "The real Naru?"

He grinned mischievously "Let's just say that the two of us are like two peas in a pod! Twins you might say."

"Oh … ok." Mai faltered a little confused.

"Naru? That is you name right?"

"No Mai it is actually Gene." He said this gently.

"Oh…" Mai looked distressed. "I liked having Naru in my dreams…" She blushed when she realized what she had said. "I mean I guess it was you, not him, but I thought it was him and liked… I mean …" She slapped her hands on her cheeks in embarrassment

"It is ok; I have known for along time you feelings for my look-alike Naru. It was those feelings that have allowed me to stay as your teacher, because we both love him and want to help him."

"Really?!"

"Yes, but when you wake up and you will wake up, you won't remember this conversation."

"Why not?!"

"Because you are too close to actual death. You soul will work to save you the anguish of this knowledge and this memory will leave."

"That's too bad, I feel as though I need to know you, as Gene."

"No Mai, we are never supposed to be more than teacher and student."

"Oh…"

Gene looked around. Then grinned at Mai with such a smile that she would have questioned if it was Naru anyways and then said. "I know how we can get out of here."

"Yes where you go I go and I can make Naru expand a large amount of surprised and useful energy."

"Really!?"

"Yes just answer my question. Do you love Naru?"

Mai turned red and mumbled. "No Mai you have to say it out loud."

"Yes, I love Naru!" Her words echoed in the white void much much louder than what she had wanted it to be.

Suddenly the white void was shot through with yellows and bright pinks. Wind started to blow. Mai glance around alarmed. "What is happening?" She yelled over the wind.

Gene spread his arms out welcoming the wind, power and familiar feel of Naru, He laughed delighted. "I think he heard you!"

"WHAT!" The wind picked up and then blew them away.

****************************************************

After sitting for the fifth day at Mai's side Naru was tired. Exhausted. He had been slowly giving power to Mai in a stream that was exhausting to keep up and at only a small amount. He has ever been one for large amounts and a small dosage was difficult to keep it at. Lin had tried to take his place at one point but had had no effect. For some reason he wasn't able to connect with Mai at the levels that Naru could. Suddenly Mai started to mumble. They quickly brought the nurses in to get the ventilator out of her mouth. She kept mumbling and everyone who had been sitting a vigil started to get very excited. And then very clearly she said "Yes, I love Naru!"

Naru couldn't help himself as tired as he was, his power surged in direct proportion to the blush that faintly stained his surprised face and the power jolted in to Mai, making her entire body jerk. He tried to jerk his hand away and ended up sending another jolt.

Mai sat up gasping, she moaned put her hand to her head and wilted back to the bed stars in her eyes.

"Mai!" Most everyone exclaimed. (Come one Naru, Lin and Masako just don't get worked up like that.)

"Hi." Mai croaked. Ayako came up to her and smoothed the hair from her forehead, and helped her drink some water from a straw. "How are you feeling?" She asked gently.

"Tired…" She mumbled and her head fell limp again. But it was true sleep this time. Naru cautiously removed his hand from hers. Mai shifted and turned to sleep on her side her hands now up by her face clasped. Naru studied her for a moment and then looked around the room. Everyone was looking at him with a smirk, except Masako, she looked slightly sick.

He got up and left the room, not even bothering to address that comment from Mai.

*************************************************************

A week later, Mai was back in the office and everyone was sitting around excited about her finally getting out of the hospital. Lin had helped her into the office and Naru has actually given HER a cup of tea.

Her face was thin and she had slept most of the week in the hospital away waking only to eat and make a shaky trip to the bathroom. Extreme exhaustion, the doctors had told SPR that if she didn't sleep now it was a high possibility she could slip back into the coma and die.

Everyone was excited to see her and asked her many questions. "How are you feeling? What do you remember?!" The last question was shouted out by Bou-san. A smirk was across his face and he kept glancing at a still Naru. Mai was confused but gamely answered.

"Well…ummm"

"Yes! Yes! What is it?" Bou-san seemed terribly excited for some reason.

"Pain."

Bou-san face fell, and then looked worried. Everyone else looked upset for her. The sight of her pain filled face as a white light was pulled from her body flashed in their minds.

"I just remember last a pain so deep it felt as though my heart was being ripped from my body." Her face was still. She had already accepted the memory.

"Oh I am so sorry Mai!"

"It is ok. It is just a memory now. The pain has been gone for days." Everyone smiled at her and started to talk of other things.

Lin leaned into Naru, "Bet you wished she actually remembered that confession."

Naru looked at him and then dismissed him with a sniff and looked away.