A/N: My second Nightmare Inspector mystery fic! If you haven't read my other, Paper Emotions, I would really appreciate it if you read and reviewed that one too! This somewhat crosses over with The Picture of Dorian Gray, but let me state this firmly: YOU DO NOT NEED TO KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT THAT STORY TO GET THIS FANFICTION! IT IS IN ALL RESPECTS A NIGHTMARE INSPECTOR FIC! Obviously, I do not own Nightmare Inspector- Shin Mashiba does- nor do I own The Picture of Dorian Gray- Oscar Wilde's living relatives do, I guess- and if you sue me, you'll get nothin' cuz I got nothin' to give.
...Under cover of darkness...
...They come to the Silver Star Tea House...
Hiruko sat in his chair at the back of the tea house, absentmindedly petting Naamu as he stared out the window. The sun was setting, painting the skies with gorgeous oranges, reds, and pale pinks and greens. Here began his rule. He was a baku, master of night and nightmares, and this hour was when he began to live.
"Do you think anyone will come tonight?" asked the pretty hostess, Mizuki, "It seems like this has been an almost easy week for you."
"It has... no one has presented a challenge. The dreams are bloodless. That little girl's dream barely qualified as a nightmare. Tonight I want to feast."
A little silver bell jingled as the door was pushed slowly open. "Excuse me... I'll probably seem idiotic for asking this but... is there really a baku here?" Asked an obviously foreign young man.
"Yes," began Mizuki, "are you part of Hifumi's rumor club come to investigate?"
"No, no. I have a nightmare..." he turned to Hiruko. "Please, will you help me?"
Hiruko looked once over the young man. He couldn't have been much older than Hifumi. He was clearly not Japanese, with his wide blue eyes and hair like golden silk. He would, in almost any culture, be thought of as remarkably attractive. "Fine. Tell me. Of yourself and your nightmare."
The young man shifted uneasily. "My name is Dorian..."
"Yes. I came to Japan a few months ago after..." He glanced up. "Is this confidential?"
"My father was hit by one of those new automobiles and died shortly after. My mother wanted to die, but couldn't bring herself to do it. Every day she asked me to help her, and knowing that she never would be happy, one day I obliged. I loved my mother and couldn't bear to see her suffer any more..." Dorian's eyes were clearly watering up. "But someone saw, and thought it was murder. I came by a ship to Japan, and left as soon as I could.
"Unfortunately, although my family was wealthy, I couldn't smuggle away anything with me and arrived dirt-poor in Yokohama. I've been struggling, but now I have a chance. You see, the Tanaka household has decided to take me in, and the master of the house to tutor me in Japanese customs, and teach me Kanji."
"And the nightmare?"
"It started shortly after I agreed to their offer...
I dream that I'm in a prison cell, and I can see the emotions around me, swirling in a red fog. I suppose red means anger, but I'm not sure if it's my own. In the corner I see a ladder. I climb, and it leads to a large chamber. There are staircases, and each one leads to a portrait. I know that it doesn't sound bad, but you haven't seen it! I think that there's a door behind each, but I'm not sure. And every night, I see more emotions, and hear more, louder voices... I'm afraid. I want to live peacefully as a member of the Tanaka household. I want to be happy, and carefree, like I used to.
Hiruko, will you help me?" he asked, earnest eyes pleading.
"Hmph. What a dull dream... I will help you anyway."
"Fine... Sleep now, leave this world behind!" There was a flash from Formalin, as Dorian fell forward, unconscious.
Mizuki looked over his sleeping form. "He's such a beautiful boy, and seems so sweet... I hope Hiruko can help him."
Hiruko lept up the ladder in the corner of the cell, Dorian close behind him. He pulled up the ladder after reaching the top.
"You're right..." he said, "The emotions are strong, thick, and colorful. In the cell it was almost entirely red, here's there's more of a panorama..."
"There's the first painting!" shouted Dorian, pointing to a large picture at top of a staircase, each step nearing six feet high. Although it was far off, you could clearly see the Dorian's portrait at the top. He was older, and next to him stood a Japanese woman of almost equal beauty as his. They were both laughing, and wore some of the finest clothes Hiruko had ever seen. "That looks like a lovely future..." he commented.
Dorian look up longingly. "Yes... but how is it possible for me to get up this staircase?"
"That's something you must do for yourself. Dreams like this depend on your choices."
"Hiruko, look at it! There's no way!"
"If there was no way, then why would it be in your dream?"
"I can't climb that staircase, Hiruko! Now- look at this one..."
The portrait was simply a few, normal-sized steps from the floor. It was Dorian, but grotesque. He had disfigured his face, intentionally-seeming, and dyed his hair to an unappealing gray, among other changes. But blue emotion and happiness came from this portrait. Hiruko pricked his ears as the thought he could hear voices in the air.
"I'll never choose that one," Dorian scowled, "Can you imagine? How could I do such a thing to my face?"
"Do you put that must faith in your looks?" the baku inquired.
"If it wasn't for my looks... I wouldn't be where I am now." he began, softly. After an inquisitive look from Hiruko, he continued. "I was born poor and orphaned young. I lived on the streets until a noblewoman saw me, and took me into her house, all the time praising my appearance. I was taken into the family not long after, and that lady became my mother. I loved her, and my adopted father. It never would have happened if I was ugly, or even average! And now... in the same situation... it's the only chance I have, yet again." His voice had a sad tone, but he believed in what he said.
"Fine." muttered Hiruko, "Everything in this dreams is your choice. The walked on, past countless portraits, none of them appealing in the least. All the time, the voices got louder, more urgent, and Dorian grew increasingly paranoid.
They were near the end of the chamber, and the voices were screaming, cacophonous, while the air was flooded with red swirls.
"This... this is the worst it's ever been!"
"Dorian... when did you say you were to arrive at the Tanaka household?"
"Tomorrow... will the dream stop once it sees my choice?"
"Either that, or something worse will come take its place. Hm... I believe this is the last one?" The portrait was on ground level, showing Dorian, as he currently was, standing in front of a large manor house, a gleeful, excited expression on his face. Another young man stood just behind the door, welcoming him in.
"Do you see, Hiruko? If that's what will happen, it's good! Hijiri Tanaka, the man ho offered my the position, is the one welcoming me. And look! I don't have to do anything to reach this one!"
"Are you sure this is right?"
"Can't you see? We both look happy! Look, Hiruko, I wish it wasn't like this, but I don't think people will ever be able to look past my appearance, it's even what Hijiri first noticed, and if I can keep my appearance in tact and still be happy, it's what I want!"
"Dorian, can you still hear the voices screaming for you?"
"I've made my choice! Look, I may not like it, and I may wish I was born average so people would actually care, but my face has never caused me harm!" He pulled the painting from the wall, leading to a spiral staircase heading down.
Hiruko knew what Dorian didn't. "Fine, if you are sure. Why did you even need my help?"
Dorian's wide eyes looked at his in puzzlement. "I... don't know... I wanted you to tell me what you thought, and tell me what to do..."
"To convince you to turn away from your decision?"
"But now I don't want to... Hiruko what now?"
"I suppose you go down the staircase."
"Yes! This is what I want!"
He lept down, and Hiruko sighed. "It's time to wake up..."
"How did it go?" Mizuki asked. It was a long dream session, and almost dawn out. Hiruko was mildly surprised that she was still there.
Dorian smiled weakly. "I think I'll be okay now. Thank you. Maybe I'll come back and visit?"
The waitress sounded a little too eager when she said, "That would be lovely!"
"Enjoy the Nightmare, Hiruko!" he called as the door shut.
Hiruko sighed as he popped the Nightmare from Formalin and into his mouth. He rolled it around experimentally on his tongue before swallowing.
"Well?" Mizuki asked.
"It tastes a little off... lustful and slightly bitter from the red emothion in the room. But unfortunately I do not believe Dorian will be coming to visit us anytime soon."
Mizuki looked puzzled, and a little disappointed. "Why is that?"
"The staircase behind the painting went directly downstairs... doesn't that put him in the cell where we started the dream?"
Dorian stood outside the manor house, slightly impatient as he knocked at the oak door. A butler soon came to answer him. "And you would be Mr. Dorian Gray?"
"Yes. I take it I'm expected?" His sapphire eyes betrayed his excitement at finding a place he would be accepted and safe.
"Right this way. The young master will see you."
He was led down a hallway lined with portraits, some by popular western artists he recognized, such as the beautiful portraits by Basil Hallward, and other, unfamiliar work. But one thing was obvious- Hijiri Takana had a wonderful eye for beauty.
They reached the waiting chamber, and Dorian was the first to speak.
"Takana-san, I am greatly obliged for your hospitality. I hope not to cause you trouble."
"Nonsense! And please call me Hijiri, we are practically the same age, and I hope we can get along as friends." He smiled in return, one side of his mouth almost coming up into a smirk. He rose from his chair and approached Dorian.
"I know you're eager to learn Kanji... I'm somewhat of an expert calligrapher, so that will work out perfectly. Do you want to start now?"
Dorian brushed his unkempt golden waves off his face. "Not right now, thank you. I'd be fine if you'd show me to my rooms first."
"Of course. This way!" Dorian was mildly surprised as Hijiri grabbed his hand as they walked. They reached a door, which was promptly opened, and descended a spiral staircase not unlike the one at the end of his dream.
After a quick glance, Dorian noticed the too-exact-to-be-coincidental likeness of this underground room and the cell in his dreams. There was a look of fear in his eyes, such as people have when they are suddenly awakened. He felt his fingers quiver, and some hidden nerve shook his pale pink lips and left them trembling. "Hiji-" He was cut off when the other young man forcefully pressed his lips against his mouth, with no obvious intent of breaking away soon.
Dorian grew weak at the knees and collapsed in shock and horror, the other boy still all over him. Dorian thought he could feel himself die a little, internally.
The easiest path, he thought, and the prettiest portrait; it never leads to the best outcome, does it?
A/N: Beware, over-trusting bishonen prettyboys! I again apologize if you managed to predict the outcome to this story. It's a lot longer than any oneshot I've ever written... I really want this to be reviewed, because I kinda want to write another Nightmare Inspector mystery fic, but I'll probably be to lazy if I don't have an audience. Any suggestions are welcome! A little random explanation: all the colors of emotions and was Dorian's subconscious trying to warn him. Hiruko knew this, but wanted Dorian to figure it out for himself. When Dorian made the choice to put forth very little effort to achieve happiness, and only cared about his looks, Hiruko thought it wasn't worth it to help him anymore. Hiruko also did his best to make the voices even louder, in a last attempt to warn him. Anything else that needs clearing up, just ask me. Oh, and those of you out there who haven't read The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde, read it! It's amazing! Actually, (and those of you familiar with the story already know this) Dorian in the book, personality-wise, is quite different from my Dorian, and the portrait holds a much more frightening, gruesome image and curse...
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