Parapsychology

Noin: Parapsychology, noun. The study of telekinesis, clairvoyance, and other unexplained phenomena.

Schbeiker: Parapsychology, fanfic. The story about Trowa being one of the Ghostbusters.

Barton: Hilde, I'm not one of the Ghostbusters.

Winner: Yeah, that's Miss Lia's trippy fantasy.

Was my trippy fantasy, Cat. When I was six. And not a word out of you, Nicki.

Po: Let's see…ultimately 3x4/4x3, 1x2/2x1, 5xS, and 6x9, though Duo will flirt with pretty much everyone. Rating for language, yaoi (that's homosexual relations to you), possible violence, possible lime, dealings of the occult, and whatever else deemed inappropriate.

Maxwell: Now let's get this AU fanfic on the road, baby! Whoo!

Shining fingah! Oh wait…wrong Gundam.

            To any normal person, the main office to the Wing Agency would resemble any other office one might find in a business corporation. The floor was wooden or wood laminate, as was expected, and the doors were thick, ominous and double. One always had to have double doors. The window was large and picturesque, and was undoubtedly completed with off-white blinds. The desk was boxy and mahogany, and all too clean. One could actually see the blotter-cum-desk calendar. The Rolodex was in one corner, the large phone next to it, the pencil jar occupying the other side of the desk along with the stapler and a box of rubber bands. The Post-It notes, green ones, were smack dab in the middle. There was a black pole light in the corner next to the squat gray file cabinet, and a potted fern in the other corner. The walls were a sort of curry powder color with pale wainscoting running waist-high around the perimeter of the room. Framed pictures and newspaper clippings were artfully arranged on those nice little metal hooks paintings are supposed to be hung on, rather than a thumbtack jammed into the wall. And, of course, in the very front and center of the desk was a name placard that read in bold letters, Trowa Barton, PhD.  

            However, upon further inspection, one would be able to see that this was most certainly not the average office of a corporate America sort of conglomerate. The Rolodex housed the most obscure of connections, everywhere from an occultist shop in Stockholm to an apartment complex in the North End of Boston brimming with MIT students. The Post-It notes had interesting little reminders on them, ranging from pick up dry cleaning to poltergeist in Hong Kong shrine. The photos on the wall seemed normal enough, though some of the occupants were far from normalcy. The clippings were about investigations done by several well-respected parapsychologists who happened to be colleagues, as well as articles about haunted America. And Trowa Barton's PhD? The doctorate was granted in the study of parapsychology and paranormal research.

            Dr. Barton was at his immaculate desk, jotting down notes on a Steno pad with a black ballpoint, phone cradled on his shoulder. He was only in his mid-twenties, and a very handsome creature at that. Tall, slender, with the build of a professional gymnast, he happened to be the best-looking researcher in his field. And everyone commented on his eyes, a perfect shade of emerald, almost eerie in pale light and infrared camera. The only downfall to his near Adonis status was the shock of chestnut hair that refused to do anything but flop over half of his face, obscuring it.

            "So the severed head sings? Shanties, really? Interesting. Yes, I'll be sure to send someone up to investigate it. Yes, thank you," he informed his caller in a quiet, rich baritone, sliding the phone back into its cradle. He finished writing his notes just as a light rap came to his open door.

            "Tro? Got something for us?" a light female voice inquired. A woman in her mid, maybe late twenties stood leaning against the doorframe, arms folded across her chest. Clad in a blue striped shirt, baggy olive cargo pants and bright red Converse high-tops, Catherine Bloom hardly looked her age. She was Trowa's meddling elder sister and unofficial vice president to the Wing Agency, as well as their full-time photographer. And damn, was she skilled with a camera.

            "Haunted lighthouse in Kennebunkport. Claims to be infested by the ghost of a headless fisherman, who carries his head under his arm. And the severed head sings sea shanties, if you can believe that," he reported, tapping his paper.

Catherine wrinkled her nose. "Sounds like one we can let the Willowisp gang handle."

The Willowisp Agency was Wing's sister corporation, made up of several very respectable colleagues who enjoyed working with Trowa but, for the most part, didn't get along with the rest of their co-workers.

            "Well," Catherine drawled, "while you were out this morning, I took a call. Some woman who owns a castle in rural France wants us to check her place out. Willing to pay very well and may just have a Class Three on her hands."

A Class Three haunting was the most rare and elegant form of spiritual manifestations, the kind where the apparition makes itself known and has conversations with those it makes its presence known to. Albeit, those conversations could be not much more than pointing to something in a dark hallway, but it was better than a glowing orb and some ominous chain rattling.

            "A Class Three," Trowa whistled. "Did she say anything about this to you?"

            "Bits and pieces. I guess this castle's been in her family for generations and just recently they opened it up for public viewing. And ever since they've had people in it, there's been word of folks seeing either a young man or a young woman…she didn't specifically say which… dressed in early nineteenth century clothes wandering about. Very friendly, she stressed. Oh, and I made you a sandwich. It's on the kitchen counter if you want it."

That was another thing about the Wing Agency; it was operated outside of Trowa and Catherine's home rather than some stuffy office building.

            "Hey Cathy, thanks for the sandwich, babe. It was just the right amount of mayo," a boisterous voice declared as another person barged into the office. A person who'd just consumed Trowa's sandwich. The green-eyed researcher glared coldly at the newcomer, who began grinning foolishly when he realized the luncheon item in question was not his for the taking. His ropelike chestnut braid swung like a pendulum, violet eyes bright with mischief. Clad in ripped denim cutoffs, a pair of scruffy-looking running shoes with no socks, and a worse for wear black tee reading Kiss Me, I'm Psychic, Duo Maxwell hardly appeared to be a professional anything, let alone a renowned psychic investigator.  

            "So, what do you have for us today, Trowa? Civil War leftovers? Ancient Roman gladiators still doing battle? A tap-dancing toaster?" he questioned, seating himself on the lip of the desk, peering down at the Post-It notes. Trowa held up his notes, as well as a slip of paper Catherine had given him regarding the call she had taken.

            "There's a haunted lighthouse in Kennebunkport, headless fisherman who sings shanties…"

            "Wait, he's headless and he sings? Ugh, my spider senses tell me to give that job to Sally, Lu and the rest of them."

            "Or, Catherine got a call from a castle in France. Possible Class Three. I've yet to respond to this one, though. What do you think, Duo?"

The violet-eyed man examined the paper, eyebrows furrowed, lips drawn tight. "Well…according to my psychic instincts, which never fail me, we're taking this job or I'm taking you down. So call this Darlian chick right now, and I'll wrangle up everyone. I think they were all outside playing bocce ball or something."

Trowa rolled his eyes, picking up the phone as Duo scampered off to assemble the respective agents.

            "Yes, this is Dr. Trowa Barton with the Wing Agency, you called about your castle?"

            "Oh, indeed I did, Dr. Barton. My name is Relena Darlian, and I was hoping you could come out and run a thorough investigation. Our situation is so unusual that I'm starting to wonder if we truly have a ghost on our hands or just some elaborate hoax."

            "I see," Trowa said thoughtfully; ripping off the Kennebunkport page and picking up his pen, ready to jot things down on his trusty Steno. "Can you tell me a little about the castle and the apparition, Ms. Darlian?"

            "Yes, indeed. Peacecraft Castle has been in my family's inheritance for generations, but then again, so has the ghost. Luckily, he's the nonviolent sort. Walking the halls and gardens, playing music at night, appearing suddenly and disappearing, and he just loves interrupting tea. I mean, he's not really a threat, more of a nuisance, and I am willing to pay handsomely for you to take a look around. How many tickets should I be faxing to you, Dr. Barton?"

            Trowa made the executive decision then and there to accept this case. It sounded interesting enough, especially the part about the ghost interrupting tea. "Five, if you please."

            "Splendid. I'll have my best rooms available for you, and my colleague, the castle historian, will be awaiting your arrival."

Catherine grinned excitedly, doing her infamous 'we have a new case' dance, which very much resembled the hokey-pokey. "Yeah, Trowa! Now we can afford to buy a new set of wheels!"

            "And just what is wrong with Escaflowne?" he asked testily, referring to the large Volkswagen van sitting in the driveway, probably leaking fluids as they spoke. It was named after the beautiful and graceful mecha from a show Trowa had thoroughly enjoyed before it was taken off the air. However, this Escaflowne was neither graceful nor as fast as the original, and would probably disgrace the bold prince who flew it.

            "Trowa, have you seen Escaflowne? It's a hunk of junk! The others make Hilde drive it because they refuse to be seen behind the wheel of that clunker. If it weren't for the painting on it, I'd say there was absolutely no redeeming value to it."

When it was learned that Trowa's poor, dilapidated van had been named Escaflowne, Willowisp technician and freelance artist Lucrezia Noin had snuck by and painted a gorgeous mural of the characters from the series of the same name on the side. Van looked resplendent with his white feathers, Allen with his regal air, the clever and playful Merle, the slightly neurotic (all right, mostly neurotic) Dilandau, the morose Folken, and the mysterious slip of a girl known as Hitomi. It was a work of art, and part of the reason why Trowa couldn't part with his beloved automobile.

            They bickered about the condition of the van as they made their way down the stairs, into the living room-slash-conference room. The assorted members of the Wing and Willowisp Agencies were sprawled across the various pieces of furniture, cold drinks in hand, waiting for their assignments to be handed out. It is at this point that our stalwart teams should be properly introduced, as it would be rude not to.

            Duo sat with his partner, a brooding young man named Heero Yuy. Heero, a native son of Japan, had graduated from MIT at the head of his class and was the top technician on either team. Duo would constantly sing his praises, calling him the McGuiver of the new age, that he could make an explosive out of a potato, some chicken wire, and a stick of Doublemint gum. He was handsome in a haunting way, with intense cobalt blue eyes and a mop of unruly mud-brown hair. How he ever married someone as outspoken and vociferous when he himself was practically silent was beyond everyone.

            On Duo's other side sat his 'sister by association,' Hilde Schbeiker. A spunky, petite bluenette, Hilde was usually in charge of cooking for the teams on and off assignments. She was also the psychic investigator for Willowisp. She, like Duo, had a permanent smile fixed to her face and was never seen without her fuchsia beret crowning her like a queen. Everyone called her the female version of Duo, and he called her Shinigami's Shadow, Shinigami being Heero's nickname for Duo. What it meant, well, that was a secret between the three of them. 

            Across from them was Wufei Chang, Wing's second technician, a product of rigorous studies at Cal Tech. Slender and elegant, Wufei was quick with his work and just as quick with his temper. His dark eyes would flash like lightning before he loosed his full ire. He kept his coal-black hair pulled up in an impossibly tight ponytail, which gave the appearance that his hair was painted on with shoe polish. Being of a Chinese heritage, he was also quite skilled in the martial arts, which he usually practiced on Duo.

            Next to Wufei was his wife, Dr. Sally Po. Sally was the head researcher as well as photographer for the Willowisp Agency, and the one to keep everyone in line. She kept her honey-gold hair in curled pigtails, and had this air of motherliness about her that made everyone feel at home when she was around. Kind of unusual, when she was married to the man known to cow a person within moments of opening his mouth.

            Beside them were the Merquise family, technician Zechs Merquise, his wife Lucrezia Noin, and their ten-month-old son Walker. [1] Zechs was stunningly handsome, long platinum blonde hair kept tied back in a low ponytail, ice blue eyes piercing. He was a mild man, quiet, passionate about some things, and very protective of his family. Noin, with her dark blue-black fall of hair and her wry sense of humor, made the perfect match to him. They worked well together, and provided for pleasant company. Young Walker accompanied them on every mission, usually slung papoose-style on Noin's back while she ran wires throughout a haunted hotel. That was another thing about Mrs. Merquise. You called her Noin or you died. Lu was accepted only if it was from Duo, Sally, Catherine or Zechs, but Lucrezia was not tolerated at all.

            "All right, shall we get started?" Trowa asked, surveying the teams. "Sally, you and your crew will be going up to Maine for the weekend. Here are the specifics."

He handed her the yellow piece of paper containing all the proper notes, which she scanned quickly and passed along to her partners. Noin groaned.

            "A headless singing fisherman? Trowa, that's low!"

Zechs chuckled. "Even lower since I assume we'll be traveling in Escaflowne, correct?"

Hilde pumped the air with her fist excitedly. "All right, Maine! We are so getting lobsters while we're up there."

            "And the rest of us will be going to the Sanq Kingdom to investigate a possible Class Three in an old castle, so pack your bags and be ready," Trowa continued.

            "Where's Sanq Kingdom?" Heero asked, perusing their own list of specifics.

Catherine was beaming. "France! We're gonna be flying out to France, and we'll be staying in a big romantic castle!"

Wufei hardly looked excited at the prospects of being an entire ocean away from his wife, one of the few sane ones, he mentally commented. "The anomaly is 'extremely friendly?' This has hoax written all over it, you know."

            "Hey, she's paying us pretty good for a hoax, Wu," Duo pointed out. Hilde twitched the paper from her ostensible brother's fingers. She scrutinized it, then let out a surprised gasp.

            "Oh, Trowa, you lucky fucker! Not only is this going to be the best assignment you've had, but you're also going to score big with a…hold on, it's coming…oh! A mysterious and downright adorable little blonde. Wish I was going. I want to be there to see the little bugger."

Trowa rolled his eyes, pretending like he believed Hilde. She had a tendency to make things up more often than use real psychic skills.

            "Well, ladies, gentlemen, and Catherine…"

            "Hey! That was cold, Trowa Barton!"

            "…We shall be departing relatively soon, so I suggest everyone wrangles up their toothbrushes and gets some fresh double-A's for their equipment."

            "And this time, Duo," Wufei warned, "try not to offend anyone with your obvious stupidity."

            "Watch it, Wu. My trusty sixth sense is telling me you'll be suffering from bad luck and misfortune this weekend, so I would be very careful on who you piss off."

Trowa felt a migraine coming on. It was bad enough to be lacking in sleep for the next forty-eight some-odd hours, but to put up with the constant bickering of Duo and Wufei as well as a bizarre sounding case was enough to make him jump in Escaflowne and tackle the lighthouse ghost instead. At any rate, it was going to be a long weekend.

Notes:

[1] Walker Merquise was named after that pilot from episode three of Gundam Wing…Zechs' little bootlicker…the one Quatre killed. The boy's middle name is Otto, after the lieutenant that committed suicide in the Tallgeese at Sanq Kingdom…episode nine, I believe.

This story is based somewhat on fact, not just on my penchant for the Ghostbusters when I was younger. I watched some show on the Discovery Channel about ghost hunting and that's where this came from. And that Sci-Fi Channel show Sightings, but that one's a load of crap. I mean, really, some of that stuff is too farfetched, even for me.