Happy Birthday to me! Yay!
I'm going to celebrate my birthday with the first chapter of this fic ^_^ Anyway, that aside, this will be my first time writing a multi-chapter fic, so I hope everyone will get excited and anticipate in the upcoming chapters (I was very nervous about this ^^'). I have done a lot of research for this fic so hopefully I got all the information right and please, if there are any mistakes, kindly leave me a review.
Hyakumonogatari Kaidankai (A Gathering of 100 Ghost Tales) was a popular parlour game during the Edo period in Japan. At night, a group of people light one hundred candles and gather around them. They then take turns telling ghost stories. After each time, the person who told the story will blow one candle. When the last candle was extinguished, a ghost/spirit/supernatural entity will appear.
Anne-chan: Thanks for the ideas and support. I wouldn't be able to catch the escaped bunnies if it wasn't for you ^_^v
Tina-chan: Thanks for being my beta, this fic would be crap without you ^_^
Readers: Thank you very much for reading. It meant a lot.
Happy reading! ^_^v
First ghost: Death of a Dear Friend
Saeki was dead. Fuji's brain was having a hard time registering that fact. Saeki, his childhood friend was gone.
"Every night, Okiku will appear near the well and count for the plates. One, two, three, four, five…" It was sundown after tennis practice. The regulars were gathering inside the clubroom. It was Fuji's turn to tell a ghost story and he was doing a good job. The story of 'Okiku and the Nine Plates' was a common legend, but because it was Fuji who was telling the story, all the hair on the regulars' neck stood up. "…six, seven…" Fuji continued counting. His voice had a certain ring that spooked the audiences. "…eight, nine…"
The sudden interruption of another voice that didn't belong to any of the regulars in the room almost gave them heart attack. Fuji turned around. He was supposed to end his story and terrify the others but the person who said 'ten' had spoil his fun. Now he was in a foul mood.
"Ten laps around the courts if all of you don't leave in ten seconds," a stern voice instructed.
"Tch, it was only Tezuka." Eiji pouted when all the excitement was gone. All of the regulars except Fuji calmed down when they saw it was their buchou who showed up at the door of the clubroom, not some ghostly apparition.
"Nine, eight, seven…" Tezuka begin counting backwards. The regulars scrambled and grabbed their things before running out of the clubroom. On second thought, Tezuka was more terrifying than any other ghost.
"That was not nice Tezuka. Can't you give me a chance to scare them sometimes?" Fuji delayed his leave so that he could have a few words with the captain.
"I'm still counting, Fuji."
Fuji rolled his eyeballs and grabbed the doorknob. "I really hate you, you know," he said icily and left.
Tezuka and Fuji were currently in the middle of a strained relationship. It had been well before, at least that was what Fuji thought. There was no confession from any of them. Fuji and Tezuka were studying in Tezuka's room one day and they had been sitting next to each other. Tired, the brunette leaned closer to the person beside him and laid his head on top of his shoulder. There was no objection from Tezuka and moments later, their hands touched. Fuji playfully ran his fingers on Tezuka's arms then shortly after, they were holding hands. A pair of lips descended on top of the smaller boy's head, pressing lightly on his soft sand-colored hair. He looked up at the other with a smile and returned the favor on the boy's right cheek. It was vague how Tezuka's lips caught his soon after and the buchou was pinning him down on the floor. Fuji could think of nothing but Tezuka's tongue invading his mouth. The other boy's weight pressed his body down and a nimble hand crawled on his stomach. What seemed to be longer than a while ended much to Fuji's dismay. They were both out of breath, Fuji's lips were red and swollen and his white school shirt was disheveled.
The two of them had been seeing each other during their private times since then. Fuji thought they shared a mutual feeling, so he bothered not to confess because it was unnecessary. It's only been five weeks; Fuji was in cloud nine until Tezuka called him for a private chat after tennis practice one day. It was 'A mistake', as Tezuka put it. It was something that he would undo if given the chance. Fuji was biting his lips all the while listening to those cruel words. The light from his eyes disappeared and he was heartbroken ever since.
Fuji got on the bus. He paid for the ticket and took a seat by the window. It's been hard having his heart torn apart like that. Deep inside, he still loved Tezuka. He loved him so much that he couldn't help but hate him for ending their relationship like that. He got down from the bus, entered the train station and headed somewhere else. Fuji wondered whether he realized where he was heading.
It was dark, the sky was black. There was only the shade of the full moon that peeked over the night clouds. Fuji glanced at his wristwatch. It was already passed midnight. He reached his hand into his back pocket and pulled out his mobile phone. There were missed calls from his family. They must have been worried that he didn't return home after tennis practice. Fuji sent them a text message instead of calling to inform his family that he's staying out for the night. His family knew he could take care of himself, so it was not such a big deal. It was Friday night after all. He had Saturday off.
"Now, where am I going again?" he asked himself. He looked around and knew that he was already halfway to his destination. There was nobody in sight. Fuji was all alone. He walked further into the darkness and soon was greeted by hundreds of gravestones.
His footsteps ended and he turned facing his left side. "Hisashiburi." The brunette smiled and took out a bottle of water. "If I knew I was heading here I would've got you some flowers." He said before pouring water onto a small pot of cactus. "Thanks for taking care of my favorite cactus. It looks well."
Engraved on the big gravestone was Saeki Kojirou's name, the fuku-buchou of the Rokkaku tennis club. He was also Fuji's childhood friend back when they were growing up in Chiba.
About a month ago Saeki was on his way to visit Fuji in Tokyo after learning that his long time buddy was going out with Tezuka. He was suddenly pulled into an alley by a street gang and after being forcibly mugged, he was stabbed multiple times. He lost a lot of blood. Saeki died a slow and painful death. Fuji blamed himself for it. Despite how he looked and acted like his normal self, deep inside he was in agony. Fuji had nightmares every night because he couldn't get rid of his guilt and Tezuka breaking their relationship had made it worse.
Fuji sat down by the Saeki family grave and stared at the big monument. He never expected to see any of his friends' names to appear on a gravestone this soon. It seemed like it was yesterday that he met Saeki with his friends and now he will never have the chance to see him again. "Gomenasai, Saeki." The apology came out very slow, as if it was choked in Fuji's throat. "If it weren't for me, you'd still be alive." A single tear dropped onto the stone's surface. Fuji buried his face in his hands. No matter how hard he tried to stop crying, the tears kept on flowing incessantly.
"Crying doesn't suit you, Fuji."
Fuji's shoulders tensed. Who could have said that at a time like this, in a graveyard where Fuji was alone? Fuji felt the hair on his back rise and it suddenly felt cold. He tried to calm himself by thinking that he was just hearing things. It made sense, since he was emotionally unstable at the moment.
"Did you miss me so much that you couldn't wait until morning to come and see me?" The voice asked again. Fuji immediately looked in front of him, where the voice came from.
End of First ghost
A/N:The story of 'Okiku and the Nine Plates' (Bancho Sarayashiki)is a famous Japanese folktale about a beautiful maid who was accused by her master that she lost one of the ten precious delft plates because she rejected his amorous advances. After she counted and re-counted, she couldn't find the tenth plate. Her master agreed to forgive her if she became his lover but again, Okiku rejected him. As a result, he threw her down a well where she drowned to her death. Every night, her ghost appeared near the well and after she counted nine, she let out a terrible shriek. It was said that if a person said 'ten' after she finished counted the ninth plate, Okiku will rest in peace because she felt relieved that somebody had found the missing plate.
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