AN: Aah, first Ghost Hunt story! I believe in long stories, lots of detail, and updating regularly:) And SPOILER ALERTS FOR VOLUME 12!
Disclaimer: I do not own Ghost Hunt. If I did, the manga would still be going and Naru and Mai would be having lots of little ghost hunter babies by now;)
Professor Martin Davis chuckled delightedly as he skimmed over the paper in front of him. It was the third time he'd read it today.
His wife and son were both staring at him. It was indeed strange that that Professor Davis was reading at the dinner table – his wife Luella had long ago expressed her distaste for such an action. Dinner was time for family. Luella cleared her throat in reprimand – and Martin snapped the binder before him shut with alacrity.
"Sorry, dear," Martin offered, placing the binder on the table. "I was just so caught up in this paper on conscious spiritual aura manipulation." His family continued to stare; his son raised an eyebrow. Ah, he had piqued Noll's interest. Martin grinned inwardly. "You know it's the time of year that I accept transfer undergraduates. Last week, I received applications from two Tokyo University students. One is a sophomore and the other is in her first year of undergraduate study. They have top grades and are both majoring in both Religious Studies and Psychology."
"Obviously, their studies are geared toward future study of Parapsychology," Noll interrupted, looking down at his plate. He pushed his fork around listlessly.
Luella frowned; Noll wasn't eating properly again.
"Obviously," Martin agreed with a smile. "Their applications were stellar, of course, but what really interested me was this paper that they sent. The two of them co-authored it, and well, it's excellent. The research, the topic, the conclusions – all laid out in proper scientific format, just as you recommended in one of your books, Noll. Supernatural Systems. Which they reference, by the way." His son nodded, still looking away.
"Anyway," Martin continued, "The paper is about aura recognition and manipulation. The students theorize that a spiritual adept can suppress their observable aura – in other words, a psychic who is sensitive to spiritual auras can train themselves to become 'spiritually invisible' to others." Noll looked up then, focusing on his father with laser accuracy.
"This is useful, the students allege, when investigating a paranormal disturbance, as it gives the investigator the opportunity to slow the action. As paranormal occurrences tend to increase with the presence of psychics, the sudden lack of observable psychic presence can calm the spirits. The students include that aura suppression also allows psychics to 'take a break' from ghosts – as sensitives will usually be sought out by the ghosts, oppressed psychics need a break to reflect on the case, or even just to sleep." Martin paused, sensing that his son wanted to interject.
He was right. "And how exactly are they testing this hypothesis?" Noll asked, eyebrow up again.
"In the field, apparently." Martin grinned. "My two new transfer students are extracurricular ghost hunters. One of them is a psychic, and she has reportedly developed the ability to control her aura as laid out in the paper. Both she and her co-author have been monitoring the use of her abilities for the last year, and the paper includes some lovely graphs and findings reports."
Noll raised his other eyebrow. "You've decided to admit them, then?"
"Of course!" Martin affirmed, nodding vigorously. "Easily the most qualified candidates of the year and one of them looks to be a promising psychic. I could probably convince her to come to SPR for some testing…"
"So you want this girl to be a guinea pig?" Luella questioned, danger in her tone. She had made her opinion of Martin's researching their sons very clear in the past.
"Well, darling, she'll be my student, which is her aim," Martin defended. "And odds are, with all this research that she and her cohort are doing, she'll want to come to SPR anyway. The 'R' does stand for Research, you know."
"He's right," Noll said unexpectedly. He almost never got involved in these arguments. "They are researchers themselves – working with SPR is probably one of the reasons they want to come to England. There's no reason not to offer a psychic the chance to test with some of the world's leading paranormal researchers." Dark blue eyes focused intensely on the wall opposite, where Martin's and Noll's framed degrees were displayed.
"Hmm, like yourself?" Luella wondered, her frown disappearing. If her son was actually interested in researching these students, well, she was all for it. Noll had been even more apathetic than usual since… well, since returning from Japan almost two years ago. Luella had originally chalked it up to mourning for Gene, but her heart told her that Noll's unhappiness was caused by something else. Especially as Lin and Madoka had intimated that Noll had behaved more freely and actively while in Japan.
"Yes," Noll said decisively, surprising both of his parents. "If it's worth my time. Japan had quite a lot of paranormal activity with diverse and interesting causes. It is possible that spiritualists from Japan would similarly interest me."
Martin and Luella exchanged a glance. Noll was showing some spirit. Victory!
"I shall make sure that you meet them, then," Martin replied.
He opened the binder again and found the title page. Spiritual Aura Manipulation and its Effect on Paranormal Investigation, he read silently. He smiled as he read the byline. The names of his two newest students were typed in English, but were written Japanese-style, with last names first.
Taniyama Mai and Yasuhara Osamu, mused Professor Davis. Welcome to Cambridge.
A few days later in Japan...
Taniyama Mai squealed as she read over the letter. "Yasu!" she cried, running into the kitchen. Bou-san and Yasuhara were setting the table while Ayako finished cooking dinner.
"Good news?" Yasu asked, lips grinning and glasses flashing.
"Yes!" Mai replied, waving the letter from Cambridge University. "We got into the program!"
Yasuhara's grin widened, Bou-san jumped up to hug her, and Ayako smiled indulgently.
"'Congratulations and welcome to the program! I look forward to seeing both of you in England during the Easter term,' " Mai read aloud to the room.
"Easter term?" Ayako asked, confused.
"The third term of the academic year at Cambridge," Yasuhara clarified. "Davis-sensei must realize that Japan's academic year ends in the spring, so the earliest we can come to England is during the Easter term, which begins toward the end of April."
"But isn't it odd that the two of you would start academic work at the end of the year?" Ayako wondered.
"Well, we're not," Mai replied, "There's more." She went back to the acceptance letter. "'Of course, you two won't be enrolled in classes until October, but I'm sure that it will take some time to become acclimated to English life. Plus, I would like time to gauge your obvious psychic talents and researching capabilities firsthand.' "
Yasuhara grinned. "A fellow research nut, just my type."
Mai glared. "Yasu, don't you dare go fake-flirting with our new professor. It took Bou-san eons to be really comfortable around you again, and we can't have that happening at Cambridge."
Yasu sighed. "Of course not, Mai-chan. Besides…" his eyes took on a mischievous glint again, "Why would I flirt with Naru's father when Naru himself will be so close?"
Mai almost threw the letter at him, but decided it was too precious to waste on momentary revenge. Instead, she picked up a soup spoon and threw it at Yasu's grinning face.
He ducked sideways, but Mai was prepared. She threw her gloved hand forward and motioned to the side. The spoon's trajectory changed just enough to whack Yasu on the forehead.
As the spoon clattered to the floor, Bou-san burst into laughter. Yasu looked up. "Ow," he said, "But your control has really improved. And I seem to be right – the stronger your emotions are, the stronger your PK-MT responds."
Bou-san stopped laughing for long enough to nod. "Yeah, he's right, jou-chan. So… once you're in England your control should get much, much better."
Mai stared at her guardian, obviously confused.
"Well," Bou-san started, a nasty grin reminiscent of Yasu's sliding across his face. "With such regular exposure to Naru, your emotions will be rocking and rolling all day long. Anger, frustration, adoration, attraction…"
An unintelligible noise escaped Mai's lips as she launched another spoon across the table. Bou-san didn't even bother to duck, and barely flinched as the spoon bounced off of his chest and hit the floor. He was far too busy laughing with Yasuhara. Ayako, on the other hand, whacked her instigating fiancé with a serving utensil and then glared at Mai.
"Spoons are for eating, not for throwing!" she remonstrated. "You can just go wash them in the sink, now. We're eating in five minutes."
Mai groaned plaintively, but moved around the table to collect the fallen spoons. As she rinsed them in the sink, she glared at her mother-figure. "You know, Ayako, they were being jerks." She nodded toward the men at the table, neither of whom was paying attention anymore. "And shouldn't you be all excited, seeing as Yasu and I just got accepted into an extremely prestigious undergraduate program?"
Ayako locked eyes with her 'almost-daughter,' smiling a little. "I am excited, Mai," she replied mildly. "If you haven't noticed, I cooked the favorite foods of certain new transfer students." Mai looked at the stove, and squealed happily at seeing the nanbanyaki simmering away. Yasu's favorite gyoza were in the next pan, and Ayako's extremely delicious soba soup rounded off the yumminess.
"Besides," Ayako's voice became serious and Mai cringed internally. "You should get all these overreactions to Naru's name over with now. You can't show up on Professor Martin Davis' doorstep and lob a spoon at his son's head."
Mai sighed. "I guess that would be bad manners," she conceded. "But I wonder if he'll even be there when we arrive. I mean, he's probably too busy to check out his father's new students." Mai grimaced, hearing the bitterness in her tone. "Besides," she added in an airier manner, "It's not like I even really care about seeing him, anyway."
Ayako gave her a soul-piercing look. "You can tell yourself that, Mai, but you do care. Far more than that narcissist deserves." Her mouth twisted a bit. "But it's your heart, and the sooner you accept that you want to see him, the easier it will be to deal with his actual presence."
"Hm," Mai replied, staring at the spoon she was drying. "Whatever." Despite her nonchalant tone, Mai's heart crashed against her ribs.
Ayako rolled her eyes, easily seeing through Mai's detached attitude. Even if Naru wasn't waiting on them to arrive, they'd all meet again sooner or later. Ayako looked over to Mai again, who was now staring out the window with a faraway look in her eyes.
It was going to be one interesting reunion.