"The first thing you need to know is how to be a ghost."
Kaoru looked at his father incredulously and laughed. "I'm pretty sure I can figure it out."
Kiyoshi laughed as well but much more seriously. "I suppose you could, but I am going to give you the flash course. First of all, I bet you can't even open doors or pick up objects. You've probably fallen through some floors…"
"I have not fallen through floors," Kaoru said.
"Well, at least you have that," Kiyoshi replied, walking ahead of Kaoru towards Kaoru's house just a little farther down the road. "You probably can't teleport, seeing how we are walking home. You probably can't speak to the living. You probably—"
"I get the idea," Kaoru said grumpily, crossing his arms.
They made their way to Kaoru's house which loomed in front of them in complete darkness. Everyone must be asleep. Kiyoshi stopped at the edge of the yard and looked up at the windows, contemplating. "Your first lesson will be to get into Hikaru's room from here."
"And how do I do that?"
"Imagine," Kiyoshi explained, smiling. "Just picture yourself up there and go. I don't know how else to explain it… I think the key to being a spirit is just to have confidence in your own abilities."
Shuffling a little closer to the house, Kaoru squinted at Hikaru's window. "Maybe we should try this later. I don't want to bother him when he's supposed to be sleeping."
"It's almost dawn; it's time for him to wake up for school anyway."
Kaoru sighed but closed his eyes anyway. Hikaru's room… he pictured the room so similar to his but so much more messy with Hikaru working at his desk like he always did. Suddenly felt his body going liquid, completely weightless. But Kaoru panicked and his mind was knocked out of his imagined destination.
His eyes flew open. "Fuck," he spat. He found himself stuck in the wall between Hikaru's room and the hallway and he couldn't pry himself out. His torso and up were inside Hikaru's room but the rest was in the hallway. "Damn it." He pushed his arms against the wall. Why was he so solid now?
Dad appeared in front of him and his eyes widened dramatically. "Now how did you manage that?" he chuckled.
"I don't know. Just get me out!" Kaoru cried, still struggling against the wall.
"Maybe I should just leave you in there. It would be entertaining to watch you struggle for a few hours."
Kaoru glared at him but stopped his struggles. "Please, just tell me what to do."
"Well it just looks like you lost your focus. After a while it will become effortless but for now, just will your way out. Make yourself pliable."
Kaoru closed eyes. Come on, come on, and get out of this damn wall. Come on, go. He gritted his teeth. He just wanted out of the wall! Frustration leaked into his thoughts as nothing happened. He gasped angrily before turning his eyes back on his father. "It's not working."
"You need to calm down Kaoru. Do you want me to get you out?"
Kaoru nodded, looking down. "Yeah, thanks."
Kiyoshi stepped forward and placed a hesitant hand on his son's shoulder. Before Kaoru knew it, he felt a warm liquid sensation rolling through his body and he was dropped onto the floor of the dark room onto his hands and knees. "I can't believe that happened to me," Kaoru said. "Being a ghost is more complicated than I thought."
Kiyoshi smiled. "It was one of the funniest things I've seen you do in so long." He burst into a loud laugh.
Suddenly, Hikaru stirred in his bed and Kiyoshi hushed himself into silence. Hikaru opened his eyes and sat up just halfway on his elbows, glancing around the room with tired eyes. His orange hair was mussed comically in matted clumps. "Hello?" Hikaru whispered, filling the room with his breathy voice.
Kaoru stumbled to his feet, staring at his brother. Hikaru was still peering around the whole room, seemingly not seeing either of them. "Hikaru," Kaoru whispered back.
"Kaoru?" Hikaru called, still looking.
"I'm right here," Kaoru said sadly, moving closer to Hikaru.
But then Hikaru shook his head and settled back into the bed, tucking the blanket up to his nose. Kaoru deflated and looked back at Kiyoshi. "I think he knows that I'm not in my body anymore."
Dad nodded. "But we will get you back into your body soon. I just have to figure out what needs to be done. But I know we are definitely going to need your brother's help." He looked back at Hikaru whose breathing was starting to slow again.
"How come he couldn't see you?"
"I made myself invisible. It can be done, even against a reaper's eyes, if you have enough practice but you don't need to do that. We just need to get you visible. Usually new spirits like you take a long time to reveal themselves to the living but we have to speed up your learning process before that demon latches onto your body for good."
Kaoru nodded, growing more determined. "I know that I kind of suck at this stuff, but if it means I can get my body back, I'll do it."
"I know you can, Kaoru. I just have to gather information from the other spirits and this time I will get better results." He turned to the window to catch the sun just barely peaking over the horizon. "We should go and ask around."
"Dad?" Both Kiyoshi and Kaoru turned to find Hikaru sitting up, staring at Kiyoshi. Kaoru frowned. They both had assumed that Hikaru had fallen asleep. "Is that you?"
Kiyoshi's eyes flicked to Kaoru before he approached the side of Hikaru's bed. "It's me."
Hikaru narrowed his eyes. "I'm not so sure. The last time I saw you, you were begging us to bring you back to life."
Kiyoshi flashed a look of surprise to Kaoru. "He did that?"
"Who are you talking to?" Hikaru demanded, curling his fists into his sheets.
"Kaoru," Kiyoshi said.
Hikaru seemed to pale at the words. "He's here? But…"
"Something has possessed his body, Hikaru. It pushed him out."
"What?" Hikaru cried, looking utterly terrified. His eyes roamed the room, looking for Kaoru.
"He's right there," Kiyoshi said, gesturing to where Kaoru was standing. "I believe he has been disconnected from his body because of how many times he has been dispelled from his body. It made the link between the soul and body weak and I think this demon or ghost, whatever he is, took advantage of it."
"Tell Hikaru that if I don't come back…" Kaoru started, feeling suddenly compelled to say a goodbye just in case.
"Don't talk like that, Kaoru," Kiyoshi growled, giving him a glare.
"What. What?" Hikaru said in rising panic. "What did he say?"
"He was talking as if he wasn't coming back," Kiyoshi told Hikaru while still glaring at Kaoru.
Kaoru looked away and Dad turned to Hikaru as he asked, "Why can't I see Kaoru?" Dad explained to Hikaru about how weak Kaoru was now and how, as a new spirit, he didn't have control over any powers yet. When he finished, Dad said, "I have to go ask around to see if there is a way to reverse it all. I was planning on bringing Kaoru with me but…"
"Kaoru, stay here," Hikaru said forcefully. "I want to try and see you. I'm sure there is a way."
When Kaoru didn't say anything, Kiyoshi decided for him, "He'll stay with you."
After that, Kiyoshi disappeared to wherever he was going; leaving the brothers alone even though they couldn't even communicate with one another. "I'll try my best," Hikaru said to the quiet room. His voice echoed in the silence.
"I'm sure you will," Kaoru replied. His voice fell flat.
Sorry about the delay. This stupid semester and work are taking over my life! AHHH. Well, I will try to update soon.