Disclaimer: Ghost Hunt is not, and will never be, mine. It belongs to Fuyumi Ono. If it was mine, I'll be making it a haunted musical! And the songs that will be presented in this fan fiction are owned by their respective singers, composers, lyricists, etc.
Italics denote thoughts, emphasis and song lyrics.
Phantom of The Opera House Chapter One: Ready, Sing!
"No. I will not sing. Ever."
An annoyed Shibuya Kazuya sat in a red theater chair directly across the center of the hardwood stage. His stoic demeanor as he crossed his arms showed no signs of succumbing to the pleading of those who were present in a large, dusty performance hall. A petite brunette by the name of Taniyama Mai even yelled at the boy for being such a selfish jerk, as she always does. Despite the shrill screaming that almost popped his eardrums, Naru wouldn't budge. There was no way that he'll ever exercise his vocal chords in front of such a sorry crowd.
"Aww c'mon Naru!" Takigawa the Buddhist monk and Ayako the shrine maiden chorused. Masako the psychic medium and John the exorcist priest also begged with the best puppy dog eyes they could muster. The angry female assistant, after getting tired of shouting some sense into him, started to lightly punch her boss. However, the ultimate ice prince was never fazed by their attempts on making him sing.
"Please consider it Noll," Lin's voice made its way to SPR's president, "it's for our freedom," he continued.
Naru could only sigh in displeasure at the situation they were all in. If only he hadn't accepted the request yesterday, he wouldn't have been stuck with his usual staff in an old, smelly performance hall. If only he wasn't interested in investigating said request, he would now be sitting in his office, drinking Mai's tea. Too many 'if only's came to mind, causing Naru to clench and unclench his fist in irritation, but the 'if only' that stood out the most from the list was something that concerned his happy-go-lucky assistant. He made a mental note to put the offender through hell when the case is closed.
FLASHBACK - YESTERDAY, 3:00PM
"People have been reported missing upon entering Théâtre de La Musique. There were a few that have been inside but have managed to remove themselves from the vicinity a few hours later though. They said that there was this spirit who trapped them inside and asked them a favor. However, they couldn't remember what the favor was. Please investigate this place. We don't want to have more citizens added to the missing people list," an old man in his mid-60's said.
"Since when did these series of incidents happen?" Naru probed at the old man with his dark blue eyes.
"Around three to four years ago. Back then, only one or two people went missing for the whole year. But now, we have around five victims for the last six months."
The old man wiped the sweat off his gray brow as he spoke. Mai, who had been listening intently to every word the elderly client said, turned her eyes to the young man sitting in front of her. He looked like he was going to turn down the request and ask the poor man to let the police handle the case. However, she managed to catch a momentary glint in those midnight blue orbs. She closed her eyes, hoping and praying that Naru would consider investigating the opera house.
"We'll be there tomorrow at noon," Naru spoke in a cool manner while beckoning Mai to usher the old man out, "Please remind those passing nearby to stay away from the theater while we investigate."
The old man bowed his head in gratitude and had himself escorted by the young SPR assistant out the office door. Naru returned to his office and took a look at his case files before commanding Mai to make him tea. Aside from the old man, nobody else went to his office to ask for his expert help. He heard the door open and saw his petite assistant carrying a tray with his tea on it. She set the teacup on his desk and stared at him.
"What do you want?" Naru asked indifferently. Mai scoffed and headed towards the exit.
"Geez, would a simple 'thank you' kill you?" she replied, her eyes narrowing.
"Not as much as my looks would kill you," the narcissist replied with a smirk plastered on his fair face.
The brown-haired gal glared at her boss and slammed the door shut. Kazuya grinned at this expected reaction from a hotheaded Taniyama. Speaking of expectations, he was confident that he would solve the theater case easily. He took a fountain pen and began writing plans for tomorrow's case.
FLASHBACK - CURRENT DAY, 12:30PM
"Late again as always, Mai," Naru said as a teenage girl ran towards him. Mai put her hands on her knees as she gasped for air. If only her stupid bike didn't break down this morning, she would've been punctual. As if to break her away from her thoughts, Naru ordered her to place some microphones and cameras outside the vicinity while giving her an 'I-don't-want-any-excuses, get-to-work' expression. The girl huffed and proceeded to carry out her boss's instructions.
"By the way Naru, why aren't we entering the building?" Mai asked while setting up a microphone.
"Just taking precautions," Naru replied in a matter-of-factly tone, "We don't want to join the ranks of the missing, do we?"
"I was just asking, oh conceited one."
"And I was just answering your question, oh obtuse one."
When the other members of SPR arrived, interviews were held at a restaurant two blocks away from the haunted theater. When Naru pieced together all the testimonies of witnesses who had managed to get out unharmed, a common denominator presented itself to the mind of the great Oliver Davis. All of them could sing really well, some of them being music school students. How singing talent was related to the mysterious disappearances was definitely queer. Naru relayed the information to the rest of the team then gave each one of them an assignment. Mai was to keep watch at the entrance.
"I won't be surprised if you don't come out of that building," the spirit medium by the name of Masako Hara suddenly uttered, causing Mai to scowl. Masako was one of the people who could really define the word 'bitch' with her existence.
"Really now, want to give it a try Masako-chan?" Mai faked a sweet voice as she emphasized the honorific. Hara hid her mouth with her kimono sleeve, concealing a frown. She motioned Mai to the entrance and raised an eyebrow. Ooooh, you're really pissing me off… Mai thought while walking toward her rival for Naru's affection.
The girl stared at the hall entrance with her chocolate-brown eyes. Goosebumps spread throughout her body as she touched its cold steel handle. Something eerie was behind these doors but her instincts told her that it wasn't malicious at all. She backed away and pondered whether to go in or stay outside. A small voice interrupted her musing.
"My, my, don't tell me you're afraid that you won't be able to come back outside once you get in? Someone with an irritating voice like yours doesn't stand a chance to even enter a singing contest," the kimono-clad girl beside her scoffed.
Masako knew she hit a nerve when Mai suddenly pushed the door wide open. She got ready to run away from the angry teenager but had her right wrist suddenly held firmly by a small hand.
"Oh no you don't! You're coming with me Hara Masako!" Mai yanked the pale wrist she took hold of a second ago. With that, the two girls entered the opera house.
Meanwhile, Yasuhara and Takigawa were lifting some equipment from the SPR van when the former noticed the sudden quietness of his surroundings. He looked around and found Naru, Lin, Ayako and John going about their responsibilities.
"That's weird. I haven't heard Mai's voice for quite a while now," the bespectacled young man suddenly spoke up. Naru's head shot up and surveyed the area. He then closed his black notebook and walked closer to the building. Upon reaching the now open entrance, his internal Mai sensor went haywire.
"Lin, John, follow me. The rest of you stay here. If we don't come back in an hour, don't even try to follow us," Naru dashed inside, with the onmyouji and the priest at his tail. Takigawa and Yasuhara blinked as the trio disappeared in the darkness. As they both turned around to pack some of the equipment in the safety of the van, Ayako ran toward them, worry clearly written on her face.
"Where's Mai and Masako?" she asked. The two pointed toward the inside of the theater and also indicated that Naru, John and Lin followed after them. Ayako started to enter the building but was restrained by Bou-san.
"Naru said that we shouldn't follow them inside," he stated.
"Nngghh, forget what that pretty boy said! They'll need our help!" the miko stubbornly shouted as she pulled the two boys with her. Once the three were inside, the door closed tightly behind them.
CURRENT DAY, CURRENT TIME
"Tell us again how this challenge works, Phantom-san," Yasuhara looked up at a floating silvery figure near the red curtain. The said Phantom-san was actually a ghost of a director who never saw his musical finish. Four years ago, he apparently died before the last scene due to chronic failure. Now this yuurei couldn't rest without seeing a superb musical performance and trapped everyone who couldn't sing into the deepest darkest depths of the dressing room. Aside from that, he insisted that everyone call him 'Phantom-san".
Phantom-san sighed and poofed near Yasuhara, the former slapping the latter's head with his ghostly hand. People who couldn't get instructions for the first time drove him nuts. Still, he gracefully moved in the air and proceeded to explain the rules.
"Now listen carefully. I already told you all that I won't be able to move on without seeing a magnificent musical performance, right? I have seen so many perform; some of them were actually good. But none has satisfied my hunger for that unique harmony," the specter said, a ghostly tear falling down from a silvery eye. All, except Naru and Lin, were somewhat moved with sympathy for the deceased director.
"All I want you guys to do is to sing me a song. However, you can't just sing whatever you want. I'll be picking songs randomly like so," the Phantom snapped his fingers and the tune of Celine Dion's "My Heart Will Go On" resounded in the theater, "If anyone of you knows the song that I play and has the confidence to present it beautifully, please go onstage and perform with all your heart. I'll be rewinding the song so you can perform properly. If nobody knows the song, I'll change it," he continued as he stopped playing the theme from the movie 'Titanic'.
"It's sort of like a day at the karaoke center," Mai smiled, her heart beating with excitement. Masako and Ayako also looked thrilled by the game. The boys' faces however turned sour, especially Naru's.
"If you passed my standards, I'll let you go. Otherwise, you join the tone-deaf idiots in the dressing room," the Phantom had this grim smile on his face, creeping the daylights out of the living, breathing occupants of the hall, "And don't you think that you can pass if you just have a beautiful voice. It's all about the performance. I'll be able to see if you aren't feeling the song through my scenery changer!"
He clapped his hands twice and all of a sudden, the chairs, the stage and every object in the theater disappeared into the darkness. The tune that was playing before returned and the Phantom sang with his tenor voice.
You're here, there's nothing I fear
And I know that my heart will go on…
Everyone felt a sudden chill and saw that the Phantom was holding Mai's hand, with him wearing a formal 19th century coat and the girl clad in a western dress from the same timeframe. Fragrant rose petals rained down on them and the room became a green meadow filled with all sorts of flowers.
We'll stay, forever this way
You are safe in my heart and
My heart will go on and on…
Mai was suddenly filled with the feeling of warmth and security. She felt tears stinging her cheeks and saw the loving eyes of the Phantom staring at her. The other felt warmth and comfort as well, save for Naru, who was secretly burning with jealousy. The music died down and the scenery that once stood before them faded into the dusty theater setting they were originally in. Silence ensued, as all were awestruck at what they experienced.
"Okay guys, let's do our best!" Mai broke the peace that filled the room while pumping her fist in the air. Masako and John nodded in agreement, as well as Takigawa and Yasuhara. Ayako embraced the petite girl and said, "Yeah, we'll give you one heck of a performance Phantom!"
Lin and Naru sighed. Seeing that they had no choice but to comply, they quietly rejoined the group of excited would-be performers.
"Perfect! Let the show begin!" the Phantom roared with glee as he drew the stage curtains open.
Yuurei - a ghost
Onmyouji - master of the 'way of the Onmyo'. Onmyo is a type of spell originated in China.
Miko - shrine maiden
'-chan' - used to express endearment, mostly towards girls. Two people are assumed to be close friends when using this honorific.
Whew, it's a long chapter alright. I just had to get this idea out of my head, even though I hadn't finished my other Ghost Hunt fanfic yet. But don't worry, I'll be continuing Chaos in a Page. I just had some sort of writer's block on the transition from chapter two to the next. But I'll try to post chapter three soon enough. Concerning this fic, I might be updating this faster than the other. So expect a chapter 2 in the next 3-4 days or so.
By the way, I'd like to ask you guys on who gets to perform first. Your choices are the following:
Naru and Mai aren't on the list since I'll be giving them their moment to shine somewhere in between, so please read, review and pick your vote! :D