Disclaimer: The original story on which this fanfiction is based, Eerie Queerie, is the sole property of its creator, Shiozu Shuri-sensei. No monetary gains are derived from this work and no infringements intended.
"You see, the most important thing is to keep in mind that Hasunuma doesn't feel that his manliness is being compromised… of course, that's not actually the case, but you see Hasunuma probably feels that way," declared Mikuni to his eager disciple.
"I get it! So what do I do about it?" asked Mitsuo, his forehead wrinkling with worry.
Kanau sighed and drifted out of the room. If Mitsuo was still listening to Mikuni's trash, it meant that Hasunuma and Mitsuo had still not done it. How long had it been since they had realised that they were in love with each other? Over three months, he was sure. And they had had these feelings for each other for much longer.
'For God's sake, you are young,' he thought.
It wasn't completely their fault, he supposed. With Mikuni interfering as and when he could, it would be a miracle if they would be able to make any progress for at least another three months.
Kanau smiled at the thought. He was glad that the two were in a loving relationship. At times, he still felt guilty for almost separating them forever only because of his jealousy. The train of thought involuntarily led him towards the memories of his senpai. This was happening more and more often lately.
Most likely because today was his birthday.
His birthday had marked the anniversaries of the most important events of his life – the consummation of his relationship with his senpai as well as being betrayed into suicide.
Whenever he thought about it, though, there was no tearing hurt but only melancholy regret. Was Mitsuo's idiotic cheerfulness rubbing off on him? He wasn't complaining – it was a good thing, really. Right now, he couldn't imagine spending an eternity haunting the school driven by his mad feelings. Maybe it was fate working to grant him absolution that he had pushed Mitsuo out of that window. All his remorse for his actions had driven out the bitter anger and pain his sempai's betrayal had caused him.
Just as he reached outside, Hasunuma ran in through the shrine gate. Barely stopping to nod a greeting to Kanau, he ran inside.
'Does the boy have some ESP that alerts him whenever Mikuni is playing around with Mitsuo?' wondered Kanau. It would be lucky if it were so because he was really getting tired of Mikuni messing about with the two of them.
He had barely turned to face the shrine gate when two little boys – twins of about four years of age – ran in through him towards the shrine. Kanau was about to go back as he was not fond of staying around the visitors to the shrine. However, the sight of the man who followed them, possibly the boys' father, stopped him dead in his tracks.
He was about a foot and few inches taller than Kanau remembered him. The face that was beginning to fade away from his memories re-emerged with intense pain. His hair was shorter and had begun greying at the temples. The lean figure dressed soberly in grey and black walked towards him with the same aristocratic grace.
Kanau was only a spirit but he could feel himself grow faint as senpai advanced towards him. His mind was blank. For a moment, it seemed as if senpai was looking directly at him. However, in another second, like his children, he had walked right through Kanau.
When Kanau jerked out of his stupor and turned towards the shrine to confirm that it wasn't merely a vision that he had seen, he found that senpai was conversing with Mikuni. He bowed to the priest and called his boys who were running about. As he walked out of the shrine gate, Kanau dashed towards him but couldn't follow him out.
"You do remember that you are confined to the premises of this shrine, don't you?" Mikuni whispered in Kanau's ear.
Kanau jerked away from the priest.
"So that was the famous senpai? I admit I had been a little curious to see what sort of face made you desperate enough to end your life."
"It wasn't his face…"
"I'm disappointed by your choice," continued Mikuni, ignoring the ghost. "Now if you were ready to die for me…" Mikuni grinned and petted his head.
"Shut up! Who'd want to die for you?" said Kanau scathingly, hurrying towards the shrine-house.
"Hasn't your wish been granted now?"
Kanau stopped for a moment – only for a moment. Even though Mikuni's tone was no longer playful… well, he didn't want to answer that. Without turning back, he went inside.
Hasunuma and Mitsuo had retired for the day.
Mikuni sat outside the shrine, gazing up at the gibbous moon. It wasn't something Kanau had observed him doing before. While Mikuni could carry out the worst of his plans with perfect composure, serenity wasn't one of his basic traits.
"How long are you going to stand there staring at me? It's beginning to give me the creeps."
Kanau had done it on purpose. He knew Mikuni sensed that there was something Kanau wanted to talk about and was waiting for him. However, when he saw him show even a bit of sympathy, it made Kanau want to try his patience.
"You should go to sleep now – you have to get up at four o'clock tomorrow morning. Moreover, it's November already – too cold to sit out here in this manner even if it's not snowing."
"Can you feel the cold?"
"That's not the point." Kanau emerged from behind the door but stayed behind Mikuni. He wasn't sure that he wanted to face him.
"You shouldn't say what you don't feel."
Suddenly Kanau regretted coming out here. He didn't want to talk to Mikuni after all. Seeing his sempai again… it hadn't been that big of a deal. No, he had been shocked for a while. But right now, he could honestly say that it hadn't been that big of a deal.
"Do you want me to free you?" Mikuni lay down on the ground so that he could see Kanau's face. With the moon behind him, the expressions on the ghost's face were not clear to Mikuni. However, he did not need to rely on his eyes alone to discern them. "You'd want to move on now, won't you?"
Kanau looked at Mikuni.
"I don't care."
"But if I free you, you have to promise that you will move on. It would offend me if my pet was taken in by someone else." Mikuni grinned up at him.
Kanau had only wanted someone to cherish him. But he knew how hopeless that sentiment was. Yes, Mikuni had kept him and he had got along well with everyone. However, it wasn't exactly what he had in mind. He had wanted someone to love him so that he could forgive sempai. He had wanted to love someone so that he could move on.
However, he was just a spirit…
It was too much to ask for, wasn't it?
"What are you making that face for?" Mikuni stood up and stretched. "It is getting late. I wonder what my little cutie will achieve tonight." Mikuni laughed.
Kanau knew that he had forgiven his sempai. He had forgiven him the moment his anger had been melted by remorse. Or was it because he had fallen in love with someone? Had it helped him move on? Was it too much to ask for?
"Let me go!"
You shouldn't say what you don't feel.
Mikuni gave no indication that he had heard Kanau and went inside the house. There was a distant sound of a door being closed and then all was quiet as before.
"Oi! I need breakfast before I go out! Kanau!" The priest sat languidly at the table, half-reclining on the cushions.
"Stop yelling the house down," muttered Kanau as he walked in with the food.
Mikuni grinned as the fragrance of fresh croissant and coffee wafted towards him. It was his favourite Western meal.
"What's the special occasion?"
"Eat and go out before you wake up the whole neighbourhood," said Kanau and put down the tray. "It's still five in the morning for normal folks."
"Ah, Kanau!" Mikuni stopped the ghost as he was about to leave the room. The latter turned towards him questioningly.
Mikuni gestured for him to come closer. Kanau advanced warily towards the priest.
Mikuni caught hold of a frail arm and pulled Kanau closer, drawing in his mouth for a long kiss. Kanau stared at the priest, stupefied – neither responding nor pulling away.
"That's the new ritual from today onwards – Mikuni's Morning Kiss," pronounced Mikuni when he finally let the boy go. "But we're going to practice as much as possible throughout the day because Kanau's gone rusty at the art."
Kanau blinked furiously. "You… YOU DAMNED BASTARD!" he yelled and rushed out of the room.
"Kanau-chan, you'll wake up the neighbourhood," murmured the priest, munching happily on the crispy roll.