Disclaimer: I do not, in any way, own any of the Ghost Hunt characters or ideas. Please do not sue me I have no money! I do own the plot ideas, however, so please do not steal them for you are crunchy and taste good with ketchup! I WILL FIND YOU! GRRR!
THIS STORY IS DEDICATED TO ALL OF MY FAITHFUL READERS AND REVIEWERS! REVIWEING DOES PAY OFF!
The last thing Mai could remember was heading home late from the office the night before. Naru had insisted she stay until all of her filing was done. This was quite the chore because earlier in the day Mai had dropped two neatly sorted boxes creating a heaping mound of discombobulated cases. On a normal day, Mai would have only needed to sort actual files and put them away, however, she soon found herself rearranging every piece of paper from every file in the two boxes she had accidentally spewed onto the office floor. She had been upset with Naru at first, but soon found herself the only party to blame for the mishap.
Mai opened her eyes groggily trying to decipher her current surroundings. She was first aware of a stiff, sharp pain near her right temple when she came to. She could feel a warm sticky substance which had woven its way down the side of her face. She felt as though she had been hit by a truck and decided she would attempt to move. It was only after her attempts when she discovered her arms were securely tied behind her back and she appeared to be seated, being tied down in a folding chair. Mai's eyes snapped open and she immediately began to panic. She had no idea where she was, no idea why she was in her current location and no recollection of how she happened to get there. She tried to scream out but found her mouth covered by a rag.
Suddenly, Mai found herself drenched in one of the brightest lights she had ever seen. The blinding effect of light was almost unbearable to her previously shut eyes. She squinted for a moment making an earnest attempt to adjust her pupils and retinas to the light. In her attempts Mai realized there was a human body being outlined within the pool of light in front of her. The figure was slowly becoming larger and Mai was certain the image was that of a man.
Her nose suddenly became aware of the stark smell of cigarettes mixed with something unfamiliar. The figure was emanating it from his body and more quickly then she would have liked she found herself face to face with a man who she suddenly did remember, "Hello Miss Taniyama...I have decided to play a little game with your high and mighty director."
Mai's eyes went wide as she looked at the strange man in front of her.
Naru had been pacing for exactly one hour, forty-two minutes and fifty-four seconds. Mai had never been so late in her entire SPR career. He had become accustomed to her daily habit of showing up three to five minutes after the office had opened for the day, in fact, he had grown to adore teasing her about her punctuality, or lack there of. Naru had always been a creature of habit, whether studying, working, or socializing. He found himself glancing toward the clock for the fifteenth time since he and Lin had arrived at the office.
"Where the bloody hell is she?!?" Naru cursed loudly in English. Taking in a deep breath he tried to regain control of his anger and his nerves. He only spoke in English when he was either in England or very frustrated. He needed to calm down, but could not find it within his capability at the moment to make that happen. The truth of the matter was simply he had become attached to his young assistant Mai Taniyama. The years had created an inseparable yet unspoken bond between the two now young adults. He had always been able to count on the young woman even despite her great talent at showing up "fashionably late", or so she called it, almost 100% of the time.
Naru was worried and the one feeling he hated more then all others was the one which came with being worried. He felt as though he had lost control and he was by nature a control freak. Any of his associates would agree. Sighing again Naru replayed the previous days events in his mind, searching for a reason Mai might have had to miss work.
The day had started off without a hitch. Mai had arrived three minutes past 7 AM per usual and had hurriedly placed her within the small kitchenette to make everyone tea. She had delivered said tea fifteen minutes later first to Lin and next to Naru. He had ridiculed her for her lateness, per the norm and she had gone about her business without a hitch for the next hour and a half.
At 9 AM the door to the offices flew open with such force Naru had heard it collide with the wall from his office. Mai had been frightened by the sudden intrusion and proceeded to drop two large boxes of files she had just finished sorting. Naru had walked from his office through a storm of paperwork to greet the client now gracing their presence. He had decided to leave Mai's unfortunate mishap with the files alone for the moment.
Naru had asked Mai to bring tea out to the sitting area where the new client had rudely seated him self. Lin had joined Naru and the client and both were listening to the man scream about his problems. Nothing had settled well with Naru about the man from the get go. He was probably in his mid thirties and attractive, however, his desperation did not seem centered around the so-called haunting he was complaining of. Mai had promptly delivered tea starting with the client and smiling brightly as she attempted to hand him a cup. He had simply glared at her ungraciously and waved her away.
This had been the moment Naru had made a final decision about the case. No tea equaled no contract. All clients worth helping wanted comfort or some kind of relief. To refuse tea was an obvious sign whatever plagued this man was not enough of a worry for him to require immediate comfort or assistance. Naru had refused the man's case and had asked Lin to make sure he found his way out.
The man had been less then happy about the outcome of the situation and had shouted at Naru, "This is not the last you will see or hear of me you insolent little brat!" He had then proceeded to slam the door shut on his way out of the office.
After the incident Naru had looked at Mai and told her to finish her filing before heading home for the day. He estimated she would finish re-sorting files around 7:30 PM. She had frowned at the prospect, but he had simply replied it would make up for a month's worth of late arrivals. She had sighed and rejected herself to the arduous task.
Naru sighed again after recalling the previous day. Nothing had been out of the ordinary; in fact it had been filled with less resistance from Mai and himself then regular Saturday morning. Suddenly upon hearing the front office door open Naru practically leaped from his own personal office and out to the front.
"Mai," he was stern but stoic at the same time, "You better have a damn good reason for..."
Naru cut himself off when he realized the person in front of him was not Mai; it was not even a woman. Naru found himself sighing heavily at the postal delivery man eyeing him with a scrutinizing glance that spoke for itself. The delivery man shifted uneasily under Naru's glare and shakily pulled a parcel out from beneath his arm, "A delivery for Mr. Shibuya Kazuya, I would normally slide it through the postal door, however, this one was too large to fit. I have the rest of your mail as well sir..." there was a slight hesitation as the man handed Naru the package and the rest of the mail which Naru dumped unceremoniously onto Mai's still empty desk, "...you will also need to sign right here sir."
Naru grabbed hold of the clipboard and hastily printed his practiced Kanji name. He almost threw the clipboard back into the delivery man's hands and eyed him, "You may leave now." The man wasted no time in high tailing it out of the office and down the stairs. Naru sighed heavily and turned his attention back to the mail on Mai's desk, he sifted through the letters ignoring most of them and opening the electric bill. He then turned his attention to the strange box. For some reason he was leery of the package. It was normal enough, having been wrapped in a plain and nonchalant brown paper. There were no marks save postage on the outside of the parcel. It seemed the box had been sent as an over-night release and Naru knew of only two people who would send a package at such a speed; Madoka and his mother. This box held no return address and was not in the pristine condition one of the two women's boxes would have arrived in. This made him all the more suspicious and he lifted it off of his young assistant's desk.
It was about this time Lin had walked out from the depths of the SPR floor and turned to look at his young ward and current employer. He noticed Naru eyeing the strange package and queried the boy, "Mrs. Davis send you one of her 'necessary' gifts again?" Lin all but chuckled as he spoke.
Naru side-glanced the taller man and shook his head raising his arms to his chest and crossing them after setting the package back down, "Afraid not. This came this morning, just now and it is unmarked." Lin immediately became serious and glared at the package and then Naru, "Before you begin to lecture me I was heading back to find you. I wouldn't have opened it without you."
"Right," Lin scoffed sarcastically as he watched Naru unwrap the box in front of them both. He sighed heavily keeping his shiki on guard for anything. Lin tried not to think about the list of very dangerous things which could be within the box before them. He had been used to this type of "spontaneous gift" back in England. Having a childhood genius as a ward had proved quite interesting. Naru had been famous there, as well as Eugene and both had received gobs of mail both of a good and bad variety. Naru popped the flap of the box open and ruffled through the Styrofoam peanuts gently lifting out a small cell phone.
Both men went wide eyed as Naru held the aforementioned phone out in his hand. It was the color of pink cotton candy and had a string which connected to it near the attena with a glittery green frog. The keypad was the same glitter covered green and it was in pristine condition. Naru looked at Lin in profound amazement and for once he found himself at a loss for words, "Lin why the Hell is Mai's cell phone in this box?"
Lin gave Naru a look which clearly stated he had no idea how to answer the young man's inquiry, "Perhaps it is a practical joke?"
Naru was about to shoot him a livid response when the phone in his hand rang and begin to vibrate. The tune was merry and reminded Naru of sunshine, obviously the ring tone of a single teenage female. His icy eyes glared at the phone before him and an irate sense of anger began to rise within himself, he hit the answer button and raised the phone to his ear, "Mai you better have a very good reason for this prank or I will have a very good reason to fire you," Naru's voice remained steady, however, a dead seriousness was ever present as well. He could not remember being so angry with the witty young woman he had grown to care for so much over the past couple of years. He had had enough surprises and pranks in one morning to satiate a cruise liner.
"I am afraid Miss Taniyama is incapacitated at the moment," Naru's eyes creased slightly as the strange voice filtered over the line, he chose to remain silent. If Mai was in any sort of danger he wanted to have as much information as possible. He would not allow himself to panic, "I can sense your agitation Mr. Kazuya. I am sure you have already realized Miss Taniyama is in a compromised situation and I hope you understand any misdirection on your part will further her situation down an unfortunate path. Am I right to assume you know who you are speaking to?"
"Ryuji Myratachi," Naru responded without emotion and calmly took a seat at Mai's desk. Lin decided to stay silent and read the young man's eyes, "To what do I owe the pleasure? I have never been graced with so tender a situation as this, I must say."
"Hold your tongue you cocky little brat!" There was a sudden sound muffled by what Naru assumed was Myratachi's hand and it held the distinct impaction of skin against skin, after which Naru heard a muffled female cry. Naru was officially pissed off and Myratachi had gained his full attention, "Silent now I see...well at least you know how serious I am. I must say I was quite disappointed at your rejection toward my case yesterday, so much so in fact I decided to take matters into my own hands. You see Mr. Kazuya; I am a simple man at heart. I require only two things in life, respect and what is rightly mine and in order to have both of those things I have acquired insurance, if you will."
Naru said nothing, silently listening and jotting down notes from what the man had sputtered forth onto Mai's work calendar, "Still silent I see..." Myratachi spoke with mild sarcastic enthusiasm, "...right then, as you well know I was in your offices just one day ago. I issued you a case and you declined it rather abruptly. Let's just say my offer still stands, though the stakes have most decidedly been raised. I am being plagued by a spirit and more importantly the spirit of my former wife. You see it was rather unfortunate her death. Poor thing...her body has still never been recovered."
Naru widened his eyes at the man's blatant and almost obvious insinuation as he continued to listen, "It would be an unfortunate occurrence for Miss Taniyama to suffer the same fate. I would hate to ruin her."
"What do you want from me?" Naru kept his voice steady and calm, however, Lin's trained ear picked up a hint of agitation beneath his words.
"It's simple. I want you to exorcise my deceased wife's spirit. I will give you twenty minutes to review the case file and Mr. Shibuya, I shouldn't have to remind a 'boy' of your caliber to leave the police out of this, otherwise I will more then gladly chop your pretty little assistant up into so many pieces you will never be able to put them all back together. I will call back in twenty minutes with more instructions." With that the line went dead and for a moment Naru sat still as snow in the winter. Lin looked at him for a few moments waiting to know what to do, to know anything. Suddenly and without warning Naru stood and started ripping through Mai's notebooks tossing two of them toward Lin.
"Look for case notes on Ryuji Myratachi. I want all the information from yesterday." Lin decided it was not the time to question his young compatriot and nodded. He silently found the past day's notes and tossed the notebook to Naru who started to glide through them in frustration. In a much calmer situation Lin would have laughed at Naru, he had never been good at reading Kanji. He side stepped back toward his office and soon produced a laptop opening it and finding his own English written notes from the day before.
"It seems Mr. Myratachi was being plagued by the spirit of his deceased wife. He was attempting to get into the home they shared because locked in one of the safes is the life insurance policy and family fortune," Lin paused and turned toward his friend and co-worker, "Naru, what is this about?" Naru looked into Lin's eyes with the most serious expression he could muster.
"Mai is being held by that scum of a man. I need to review his file in the next twenty minutes or she will be harmed," Naru had once again controlled the tone and volume in his voice, however, a bit of venom was beginning to bite through, "I believe Myratachi murdered his wife in order to take control of the family fortune and life insurance policy. You know what they say…if someone buys you a life insurance policy as a gift, it is time to move."
Lin scoffed at Naru's untimely humor, "I doubt Mrs. Myratachi was planning a move to such a permanent location."
Naru nodded, "As do I…her body has never been recovered. He must have hidden or buried her well. It is my guess her spirit is full of anger and vengeance which is most likely fueling the haunting that is occurring at his residence."
"It says here in the notes he was not even able to enter the premises before unexplained phenomena occurred." Lin added.
"She does not want him going into that house. The problem will most likely be getting into the home and getting Mrs. Myratachi's spirit to trust us enough to cleanse her. Is it possible Lin?" Naru's voice wavered only slightly.
"Yes it is possible, but I worry about the circumstances. Shouldn't we involve the police Naru? The Professor would never approve…"
Lin was cut off suddenly by Naru's biting comment, "Only if you want Mai to join Mrs. Myratachi."
Before Lin could respond the small pink phone began to ring and vibrate once more. Naru immediately answered the device and held it up to his ear, "I assume you have reviewed the information and are ready to begin?" Naru was once more silent, deciding he would rather be shot and bleeding to death before speaking to such a low-life as the one currently on the opposite end of the phone line, "I will take your silence as a yes. You will be happy to know I have rearranged Miss Taniyama's current living conditions. I am giving you 8 hours to complete the cleansing of my home."
Naru's eyes widened, "That is completely…"
"Completely and finitely the conditions of this agreement; I am not a patient man. Perhaps if you had taken my case originally none of this would have happened," Naru almost growled, but reined his composure and remained silent choosing to let out a long sigh instead, "Miss Taniyama's phone has the capacity to maintain a video connection. Of course you already know this because you are the one who most likely purchased the device for her. I have linked a direct video feed to Miss Taniyama's disposition. She is located within my home, safely tucked away with my dear, sweet wife. If you are able to rid the location of her spirit I will leave you instructions to Miss Taniyama and Ryoko. If not I pray you have left your sentiments with the young girl. The clock is ticking and I will not wait. Good luck Mr. Shibuya…" the line went dead.
Naru wanted to throw the phone across the room, but he knew it would be wasted. He was livid and was desperately trying to control his PK as his thoughts raced through his brain, "Lin we have eight hours to solve this case…I need Matzuzaki and Takigawa to meet us at the address listed in this notebook. I don't care what you tell them but make sure they get there. Miss Hara and John are out of the country hence they will be useless. I will pack a microphone and computer with camera and be waiting in the van. Make sure…" Naru was cut short when suddenly a vibration ushered forth from the phone still in his hands. Unexpectedly a picture came into view. It seemed to be a direct video feed, though the screen was black. Suddenly a bright light illuminated the background of the phone and Naru was faced with the picture of Mai. She was squinting in the light and blinking furiously in an attempt to see. Her arms were tied over her head in a position Naru could only describe as uncomfortable. Naru was almost glad she couldn't see just yet, because right in front of her was the burnt and rotting corpse of what must have been Mrs. Myratachi, if Mai had not been tied up she would have been able to reach out and touch the body of the woman before her. His eyes clouded with anger at her condition, tied and gagged was not how he wanted to imagine his assistant.
"Mai!" Naru spoke without realizing what he was doing and he shocked even himself at his own words. It was not within his character to be so spontaneous and lose his sense of self control. He perked up when he saw her respond to his voice, however. "She can hear me…" He winced slightly when he realized she had discovered the mangled mess of a left over person in front of her and he read the fear which washed over her immediately.
He had never been one to dish out comfort and words of kindness; however, he had once quelled Mai's fears after falling with her into the sewer and had also calmed Miss Hara's spirit during the Labyrinth case. This was most decidedly a good time to use his miniscule knowledge of comforting words and attempt to satiate his young assistant's hysteria, "Mai…Mai you have to calm down…I am coming for you Mai." He smiled to himself when he saw her taking deep breaths, "Good girl…hang tight and Lin and I will be there before you know it…" he was about to say more, however, Mai's sudden movement and refueled fear in her eyes confused him for the slightest of moments.
Suddenly the screen was obstructed by what appeared to be a cloth and all Naru could decipher was Mai's muffled screams and what once again sounded like skin hitting skin. He would kill Myratachi…he wanted to honest to God murder the man and destroy his soul before it could reach either heaven or hell. He deserved neither. He wanted the man to wander lost in the forgotten tombs of limbo for eternity.
"Lin now you know the severity of the situation…get them there! NOW!" With that Naru began to gather his equipment.
Mai's only condolence within the room she was currently in had been the short-lived sound of Naru's voice. Though brief, it had calmed her down to know Naru was looking for her and knew of her plight. Myratachi had returned and hit her several times, she was sure he was gaining some sick kind of satisfaction out of her predicament. She was actually glad he was choosing to inflict pain in that way rather then others. She shuddered at the thought and returned her eyes to the burned body in front of her. She did not want to end up like the woman hanging in front of her. Myratachi had reminded her several times if Naru did not succeed in his current mission she most certainly would. Tears wove their way down her face. She was frightened, no terrified and all she wanted to do was be back in the office and pouring Naru his tea. She would pour tea over this situation any day.
Naru, Lin, Matzuzaki and Takigawa had met at the estate and immediately had a conference regarding the situation. Naru reminded everyone about the severity of the situation and requested all of them save their personal feelings on the side until the mission was complete. There was no time for unnecessary chatter, especially when one of the team's lives was on the line.
They had easily gained access to the home and after locating the room Mrs. Myratachi's spirit had last breathed the breath of life in and fighting off supernatural phenomena for several hours they were able to rid the home of the women's spirit by cleansing her from the world of the living and promising to find and bury her remains properly.
The original phone call had been received by Naru at noon exactly. It was 8:47 PM and he was probably more prideful then was necessary that his team was able to locate and cleanse the spirit in such a short period of time. He dialed the phone and waited for Mr. Myratachi to answer.
"Is it done?" His voice was surprised.
"Yes. Where is Mai?" Naru was standing in the middle of the group each tense with growing anticipation and rage.
Naru looked at the phone as the line went dead and Mr. Myratachi strode down a spiral staircase toward the four ghost hunters, a small pistol in hand, "Bravo…I must say bravo!" He met them at the bottom of the stairs and smiled walking over to an oil painting and shifting it after which he unlocked and opened a safe removing the documents and yen within.
After he had safely tucked away all of the documents and money Naru eyed him angrily, his eyes as cold as ice, "Where is Mai?"
Mr. Myratachi chuckled throwing his head back, "She is in this house of course and you have exactly nine minutes to find her before she goes, well, let's just say up in smoke. Farewell…it was nice doing business with you young man."
Naru's eyes went wide and he without saying a word set a plan into action. Matzuzaki nodded in silent understanding turning abruptly and without warning with two paralytic syringes driving them into Mr. Myratachi's leg as Lin easily knocked his pistol away, "Get him out of my sight!" Naru sneered and turned to run in the same direction Myratachi had come, "I am going to find Mai. If I haven't come out in seven minutes you will know to come after me. Get out of the house it is no longer safe. I believe he has rigged the entire estate to go up in flame."
Before Lin could object he saw Naru's form disappear up the stairs and he with the aid of Takigawa began to haul Myratachi out to the courtyard where EMS and police were beginning to arrive.
It took Naru longer then he would have liked to locate the room Myratachi had come out of. After close inspection, however, he realized it was the only unlocked door on the second floor of the two-story home. He nearly kicked his way in and was becoming more and more frazzled by the moment, though he hid it well under his stony façade. He refused to allow Mai to die in this way…he would have to give up on living himself. None of his team deserved such traumatic and distasteful treatment. However, Mai was different because she was the glue which held everyone together. She was the missing puzzle piece within his jigsaw puzzle of a life. Life without her would be like living life without Gene all over again and that was not a life Naru was willing to miss out on.
Finally in desperation Naru focused his mind on everything in the room, it was not too wasteful of his energy. He was sending out mild vibrations to find the hidden passage he new must exist within the room and he was relieved to see he was right. Smoke was beginning to leak from a small almost microscopic break in the wall and soon the wall all but opened up to him and behind it was Mai, his Mai trapped in a wall of smoke, "MAI!" he ran forward immediately and eased her small frame up lifting her rope bound wrists over the hook hanging from the ceiling and gently carrying her out and into the clear air in the hallway just outside of the room. He easily removed the knot around her wrists and the gag from her mouth. It was only after removing the gag that he realized she wasn't breathing.
Naru's heart sank in his chest and he eased his ear to the girl's chest straining for a heartbeat. He allowed a relieved breath of air to leave his mouth which he did not realize he had been holding onto and immediately lifted her by her shirt collar smacking her as gently as possible. He soon realized it was not working and laid her down head flat on the floor. He took a deep breath and touched his lips to hers pushing his own air into her fragile form praying to anyone who would listen the girl before him would breath. Naru only half noticed the building flames beginning to nick the sides of the door beside him and spreading down to the next few rooms over. He repeated the breathing exercise several times and finally he was rewarded for his efforts when Mai took a sharp intake of air on her own followed by a fit of coughing.
Naru instantly brought her into an embrace and laid her ear to his chest silently thanking whoever had heard his hurried and out of character prayer from before. He was trying to get her to breath with him, to calm her breathing down and relax. He realized, after a moment, it was necessary to remove himself and Mai from their current disposition when a large beam fell beside them from the ceiling.
"Hold onto me Mai," He gently lifted the still shaking girl into his arms and carried her bridal style as he rushed toward the staircase and down the stairs. He had not noticed until now the bruises just under each of her eyes and the broken and bloodied lip she now sported. He really wished he could drag the sorry excuse for a human being who caused so much pain back into the fiery ibis of the burning estate but remembered Mai who was in his arms. She would never allow it she was too kind sometimes, "Hold on Mai…you are safe now…I've got you."
Naru side stepped a flame just in front of the door leading to their sanctuary and winced as it licked his side and arm. He would be fine as long as he was able to reach the outside air. He could feel his shirt and skin burning and he wanted to cry out but he wanted to get Mai to safety more. Finally he felt the cool evening air touch his hot skin and he embraced it with a smirk. He was able to get Mai down the main staircase leading into the estate before he collapsed, Takigawa catching the girl and Lin catching Naru before everything turned black.
Two Days Later
Naru had been with Mai sense he had regained consciousness. He had been treated for burns no worse then those of a bad summer sunburn and then released by his own stubborn orders. Mai had been placed in critical condition because of the amount of smoke she had inhaled. She had been on a breathing tube at first as the doctor's believed it the best treatment for the severity of her smoke inhalation. Naru had been silent but diligent for the past two days. The others had all come and gone, though, Naru stayed loyal to her side.
They had removed the tube earlier in the day and Naru had tried several times to wake his sleeping assistant. The bruises had become quite ugly on her usually angelic skin, but he tried to ignore them. They only brought him anger and he was trying to remain calm. He needed to be calm for when she woke.
He took in a huge amount of air and then released it. It always amazed him how a deep breath had the power to calm one's spirit down. He decided then to speak, softly and just above a whisper, "Mai it is time to wake up," he paused, "Mai I don't think you understand the severity of the situation you have placed me in…or how angry I will be if you don't open your eyes soon."
He eyeballed Mai a moment longer, "I won't be able to forgive you…" he thought about his words for a minute and then decided to correct them, "…I won't be able to forgive myself."
He took her hand and compared it to is own. He was taken aback at how small her hand seemed when it paired with his. He decided at that moment he was never going to let those hands out of his sight again. His breath hitched when he heard his female companion stir before him and he carefully returned her hand to her bedside.
"Naru…" her breath was nothing more then a dry wheeze and barely there at all, but it flooded Naru's brain with a comfort he could not describe with words.
"Yes…" Naru questioned her, his voice stoic and even.
"I promise to make you the best cup of tea ever…if you just hold my hand a little longer," Mai's voice squeaked out once more but her eyes never opened. A small smile graced her lips when she felt her boss, no, her Naru, take her hand into his larger one and squeeze it gently.
"Alright," though Mai couldn't see it Naru matched her smile with one of his own, "But it better be one damn good cup of tea…I do not take kindly to exerting so much energy on you all of the time."
Mai returned his sentiment with a soft sigh as she drifted back into sleep and smiled a bit more. He gazed over her still form until he saw her breath even out. He returned her hand once more to her side and stood stretching his aching body. Reaching down he readjusted her blankets and planted a soft kiss upon her forehead, "I do so love your tea."
Author's Note: So there you have it, my one shot fiction I promised for 100 hundred reviews! Let me know what you think! I honestly am not sure where this idea came from, but it works. I hope you enjoyed this story! I really did try to keep everyone in character.
REVIEW! It makes me happy and helps me out!