A/N: I do not own Nightmare Inspector... If I did, there would be novels and an anime!
Under cover of darkness...
They come to the Silver Star Tea House...
"Well, that's it for me!" shouted the tea house's noisy, rich patron as he threw a pile of old books into his bag. "No one's going to show up, and I'm tired. Goodnight, Mizuki! And Hiruko."
The baku sighed, feeling that he would not get a meal this night. In just a few hours it would be light out.
"Business has been slow, hasn't it? Don't worry, Hiruko, you'll get a nightmare soon."
He sighed, and toyed impatiently with Formalin. "Why is Hifumi combing through those rotting old books, anyway? It's not like him to do something as useful as furthering his education..."
"He said it was something for the rumor club, I believe. Well, I need to sleep at night, so I'll wish you luck and- oh!" A little bell tinked as an exhausted-looking young man tumbled through the door.
"Please, is this the tea house with the baku, Hiruko? The one that helps people with their nightmares?" His throat was dry, and his words were slightly slurred.
"Yes, yes, he's over there. Sit and tell him bout your nightmare. I'll go make you some coffee." She smiled and winked at Hiruko as she returned to behind the counter.
"Please. You need to help me find her!" the youth begged. His light brown clothes were torn and ratted, and his paper-white skin was dark beneath his eyes.
"Find who? I need to know what is going on before I help you."
"O-of course... I'm sorry for getting ahead of things... oh, thank you," he added at the end a Mizuki laid a dark, caffeinated beverage by his right hand.
"My name is Nikkicho. You see, a few weeks ago i started having this dream. I was just sitting in a plain room, but it had a cozy, pleasant feel somehow. There was a gap in the left wall that led to somewhere else, but I had no inclination to find out where. It was only me. Me, and a girl's voice."
"Do you know her?"
"I think that I do. You see, I know that this girl is real. I know that I'm not making her up. I just know it. Well, every time I dreamed I would hear her lovely voice, and hear her talk to me. She would tell me about her day, ask me about mine, and tell me the most lovely poems and things. She's such a creative girl, my Noriko is, and her voice is like magic. And I love her."
"Yes, yes, I inferred that, but what happened?"
"Slowly, Noriko started changing. She wasn't quite that happy girl I fell in love with, but I would still listen to anything she had to tell me, and not worry or leave the room where we talked, but something seemed to be going amiss.
"Noriko's words became more drenched in self-hatred, and I did my best to comfort her. The next night the cieling was covered in water and the ground in blood, with Noriko no where to be heard. I ran through the gap in the wall and ended up in a similiar chamber, and the same thing happened. I still hear her voice, but it's always just ahead of me, and she always leaves when the blood reaches the room!"
"I take it you want me to stop the blood from flowing? And the water from drenching the cieling?"
"Yes! And help me get out of that maze; I need to find my Noriko! Please, I need the help of a baku!"
"Blood makes tasty nightmares, and this is an interesting challenge. Very well, then. I shall keep your nightmare as the payment, once I am finished."
And with that, Hiruko raised Formalin above the young man's head.
"Sleep now; leave this world behind!"
There was a flash, and they stood in the promised beige-walled room. "This is it..." said Nikkicho, "my nightmare."
"Nikkicho!" a pretty soprano voice shouted, "I don't know if I can take all this anymore! There's no one who cares about me... only you..." the voice died in volume until it was impossible to hear anymore. The vile liquid began to seep through the walls, covering the floor, and wet blotches started to appear above them.
"Hm..." mused Hiruko, "As I expected." Then he turned to his client.
"The blood- It's so thick! And so much of it! Come on, Hiruko, we need to move on and find her! Can you do anything about the blood?"
"... I think not. That girl is the one controlling it. We'd best hurry on."
The dark substance was almost almost a foot deep as they jogged into the next room, where it only went to their ankles. Noriko was nowhere to be heard.
"Nikkicho," began the baku, "do you ever go back to a room you've passed through already?"
"No. Only forward, through the hole that's always in the left wall. there's no need to go back, it won't take me to Noriko!"
"Do you know if anything can take you to her?"
"... what do you mean?"
"I believe there's a very good chance you'll never reach her if you continue as you are now. Say, do you have a lighter?"
"A... lighter? Yes... I think..." he handed the small metal lighter to Hiruko, who promptle ignited it and threw it into the wall.
"What are you doing? How will this help me?" Nikkicho shouted, unaware of how the pale wall was beginning to smolder and burn away, layer by layer. Soon a beam of light shot through, showing a small bit of outside. "How... did you know that would happen, Hiruko?"
"I figured out your nightmare when you described it. Besides, if exiting to the left always leads to the next room, then don't you need to try a different way? Now, the hole's big enough, try crawling through. I'll follow."
"I- I see someone..." The young man dashed through the gap, and Hiruko heard a pained shout of "Noriko!" from the other side.
Hiruko crawled through, and saw the dreamer crouched over the body of a girl, whose bright red blood was dripping from her wrists. Her long hair fell about her body in black curls, blotched with red.
"Noriko... Noriko, why did you do this?"
The girl's wide brown eyes were brimming with tears. "No one cared about me. No one loved me, or wanted me..."
Nikkicho pulled her close to him, and ran his fingers through her hair as she sobbed into his shoulder. "But... but I love you! I've loved you for so long!"
"I don't care what you think about me, or what you see me as. You are as beautiful as your heart, as your words, and I love you. Never forget that..."
"But you're Nikkicho!" she gasped, obviously not able to hang on much longer.
"It doesn't matter who or what I am, sweet." He touched his lips to hers in a soft kiss, as her eyes began to dim.
"You... loved... me..." Noriko grew still. The young man let out an anguished cry, and kissed the top of her head as he laid the girl's body on the ground.
He turned, and inky smoldering eyes met crystal blue ones. "Hiruko..." Nikkicho whispered, "Thank you."
Hiruko raised an eyebrow at the young man. "You're thanking me?"
"Because of you..." he continued in a soft voice, his eyes now downcast, "I was able to hold her. I was able to kiss her and tell her how I loved her, even if it was too late. And for that I'll always be grateful to you."
"Do you realize what has been happening, Nikkicho?"
"Well then, my friend, it's time to wake up."
There was a flash.
"That took quite a while Hiruko, but where's our guest?"
"He found his purpose, and his love. But she died."
"But things resolve themselves. I do believe this is not the last we will hear of this event."
"What do you mean, Hiruko?"
"You'll see." He began to yawn. "It's almost dawn. I'll eat this quickly..." He slipped the sphere from his cane, a quietly slid it past his lips... "It's inky, because of the ink that flowed through the rooms, and musty from the paper walls, but the blood made it palletable. Good morning, Mizuki." He walked upstairs, looking to be deep in thought.
A few hours later, Hifumi descended, along with his pile of old books. "Mizuki! I found some great stuff for the rumor club in these!"
"What are they?"
"I found a man on the street with a bag of them he got from the junkyard... they're old diaries and journals!"
"Isn't that private?"
"Well, they were thrown out..."
"What about this one?" The tea shop owner pulled a small book from the pile. The cover seemed to be stained with tears, and on the inside there were large blotched of ink, sometimes covering whole pages, that blocked most of the writing, as well as a small burn mark on the top."
"I don't know... hey, here's something! 'Property of Hoshimura Noriko-chan'"
Mizuki sat deep in thought as Hifumi continued chatting. She froze as an errant thought entered her head. Nikkicho... is a word for diary.
A/N: Gosh, I hope I didn't make this obvious! And I hope it sounds vaguely Nightmare Inspector-ish too. (It's been a while since I read them sweatdrop) This fandom needs more love! I'm currently working on another Nightmare-solving story, so expect it to be out in a few days. This is only my second fanfic ever, so reviews are greatly appreciated! Or PMs! Or any feedback whatsoever! Nekoraven out.