PSC Series: The Haunted CelebrityChapter:
the GazettE, SCREW, Alice Nine, ViViD, more to comeDisclaimer:
I don't own the guys. Just the story.Pairings:
AoixRuki, ByouxRui, KaixUruha, probably more to comeGenre:
AU, horror, supernaturalRating:
PG, for nowWarning:
"PSC, which stands for Paranormal Studies Center, is an institution whose main object is to investigate various paranormal and supernatural events. This is the Department of Investigation and Recovery, where all investigative tasks are being done. My name is Kai, and I am the head of this Department. Welcome. How may I help you?"
“Shou, try not to look like you’re having too much fun in there.”
Kai stepped back and sat down on his chair without turning off the intercom between two rooms. There were sounds coming from the room across the one-way mirror, sounds that were actually getting to his nerves, but Kai knew he had to keep his ears open to the very end. Never in his life had he heard such mean cuss words, moreover coming from an old lady. Well, at least in common people’s eyes, she would appear just like a frail old lady—probably eighty years old, looking like a normal grandma you would meet every day on the sidewalk. But Kai knew better. Underneath the old lady disguise, there was a huge demon with a face that looked a lot like a Rottweiler, sickly green skin, and six slimy eyes. And this demon seemed really fond of cussing, to the point of adding the rudest cuss words in its every single sentence, regardless how ridiculous it would sound sometimes.
But Shou didn’t seem like he was bothered by any of it. Standing in front of the demon-granny, he was smiling brightly as if someone was taking a picture of him. He was holding a glass filled with water—not just any water, actually; it was Holy Water. The institution stashed a whole tank of it in the basement for general use, especially exorcism and purification. Most of these tasks were usually done in the room just behind the one-way mirror, a room they liked to call the ‘Laundry Room’, since that’s where the staff did ‘cleanse’ things, including living beings and dead objects, from evil spirits.
“What are you talking about, Kai?” Shou said. “I’m having a really hard time here. Can’t you see how painful it is for my innocent ears to have to listen to what this ugly hag is saying?”
Kai wanted to answer, no; he couldn’t see what Shou meant at because, with that smile upon his face, the Exorcist might as well be listening to kids singing Christmas Carols. But instead, he said, “Just get the job done already, Shou. We have other work to do.”
Shou shrugged. “Okay, Boss.”
The demon-granny screamed another long string of profanities just before Shou sprinkled a handful of Holy Water onto its face. Kai kept watching, cringing every once in a while as the demon twisted and writhed all the way through Shou’s exorcism process.
Kai turned around from the hideous scene only when he felt a pat on his shoulder. Uruha’s grin filled his sight in an instant.
“Hey, there,” greeted the séance expert. He offered a glass of tea—Kai’s favorite chamomile tea, judging from the aroma—which Kai very gladly accepted. “You look preoccupied,” Uruha said, eyeing the view through the one-way mirror.
“Hey,” Kai sighed. “Yeah, we’ve just caught it earlier this morning. It’s the creature that has been making a ruckus in the department store down the block.”
“Oh, I’ve heard of that. People thought it was a bunch of young thugs making a scene.”
Kai nodded. “Yes, well, it’s a thug alright. Only it’s a supernatural one rather than natural.” He motioned toward the one-way mirror. “And it can disguise itself pretty well. Who would ever suspect a gentle looking old lady like that pushing groceries off the racks, tackling people down, and messing up with the register machines?”
“She’s possessed?” Uruha stood behind Kai’s chair, one hand on Kai’s shoulder.
“Yes, Shou said it’s a young demon—probably sixty, seventy years old—and pretty inexperienced in the matter of possessing people,” Kai said. “It’ll be done really soon.”
“Poor old lady will be so sore once it’s out of her.”
Kai agreed quietly. He himself had experienced being possessed once when he was just a kid. It was just a stray spirit and Kai had only been at the wrong place and the wrong time, but back then nobody knew what was going on, let alone expelling it from Kai’s body. It had stayed for about a week inside of him, and when—after some lucky coincidence when Kai bumped into a priest on his way to school—it had finally left him, he had felt like he’d been hit by a car. He hadn’t even been able to get up from his bed for three whole days.
“Oh right, Ayame just told me you’re holding up a meeting after this is done,” Uruha mumbled with his lips pressed against the ridge of his own cup, as if giving it a long, sweet kiss. He had a blissful expression on his face when he sipped his drink bit by bit—it must have been a rather awful morning for him, too.
“I am, actually,” Kai answered. “We need to talk about what happened at Yuu’s last night. Both you and Ruki have some explaining to do.”
The demon inside the Laundry Room gargled something inaudible.
“Shou, get your foot off of the old lady’s stomach!” Kai shouted. “Anyway, as I was saying, we have to get to the bottom of this, and fast.”
“Well, to be honest, I haven’t got much to explain,” Uruha said. “The spirit didn’t tell us a lot. Seriously, I hate meeting ghosts that act all mysterious. I mean, how are we supposed to understand what they want if they give us nothing to work with but confusing, nonsensical babblings?”
“The staff might have some idea, but my point is we need to review everything that has happened last night. This case is getting weirder and weirder…”
All of a sudden the intercom became quiet. When Kai looked through the one-way mirror, the exorcism was over. It was done fairly quickly, just as Kai had expected. The old lady slumped on the chair, unconscious. Shou placed his bottle of Holy Water on the table, clapped his hands twice as if he was praying in a shrine, smiled, and muttered, “All done.”
At 2 p.m., all the staff members who had been involved in Yuu’s case from the beginning were gathered in the meeting room. Kai was sitting on his chair with another cup of chamomile tea on the table. Sitting on his right was his assistant, Ruki, and he looked as if he would faint any second now. When he arrived at the office earlier this morning Kai honestly thought he looked like a zombie. Kai had seen zombies, quite a few times, in fact, in his position as the head of Department of Investigation and Recovery, so he hadn’t been exaggerating too much. Kai understood that Ruki needed to rest—the look on his face obviously showed that he hadn’t had any sleep since last night—but the sooner they figured out what they should do, the sooner they could go home and get all the rest they wanted.
Reita was the last person who walked in just before Kai started the meeting. The man stumbled into the room, nearly knocked down a chair on his way, grinned wide, and sat down with as much noise an elephant would make.
“Okay, so,” Kai sighed, suppressing the urge to knock Reita’s head with an ashtray. “I’ll go straight to the point. We’re here to discuss about what happened last night at our client’s apartment. Ruki and Uruha will tell us in detail about their experience. After they are done with their explanation, I hope each and every one of you can contribute your ideas. And then from there we are going to decide what we should do next.”
Ruki and Uruha took turns speaking—Ruki yawning through most of his story—and once they were finished, the room was full of grim looking people. Ayame was the first to break the silence, uncertainty thick in her voice.
“Okay, so basically, if what that spirit told you was true, then we’re dealing with a living person,” she said slowly. “If that’s the case, then we can forget using exorcism or any other cleansing method for demons or souls of the dead.”
“Exactly,” Shou added. “No amount of Holy Water or exorcism prayers can harm an untainted living person.”
Kai sipped the last drop of his tea, nodding gravely. Ruki and Uruha’s stories forced him to think twice about practically everything. All the strategies he had thought of before seemed useless now that they were told a living person was behind all those disturbances. The first thing that came up in Kai’s mind was a jinx, but so far his staff hadn’t found any object that was strong enough to cause too much harm. But if it wasn’t a jinx, what else could it be?
He hated to admit it, but he was running out of ideas.
“Okay,” he said then. “I want all of you to let me know what you’re thinking. Whatever it is, just tell me—it can even be your wildest idea, I don’t mind. I’m all ears right now.”
“‘Fear not of the dead, but of the living
’…” Ayame mused. “The spirit didn’t really specify ‘the living’ as a human being, right? What if it’s something else, a yokai
From across the desk, Hiroto shook his head. “No, no, no. I saw nothing that looked like a yokai, not even traces of it.”
“You could have missed looking at a few spots. And some yokais are pretty good at covering their traces.”
“I haven’t missed—”
“Hiroto’s right,” Reita piped in. “I didn’t sense anything weird when I was there. Well, not in the level of a yokai at least. A few passing spirits, that’s all, and none of them were dangerous.”
Ayame looked at Reita, shrugged, and said, “It’s still an idea.”
Reita grinned at her goofily, and then suddenly his face lit up. “Hey, it might be a Shikigami
! It’s controlled by a living person, and it is capable of hurting people physically depends on the commands it received.”
“Oh!” Uruha exclaimed. “That actually makes sense. But Shikigami… wow, man. That takes a lot of skill.”
Reita nodded, agreeing. “Right, to be able to create a Shikigami, to manipulate it and make it do things—hurting people, for instance—needs some serious ability and years of experience. If you’re not careful, the Shikigami might go out of control.”
“Yes, there is a long history of people getting killed in their attempt to control a Shikigami,” Kai said. He recalled several cases that he had handled in the past that was related to Shikigami; most of them ended tragically, with the master-wannabe getting mauled and ripped apart by the creatures they intended to control. The result was never a pretty sight, and it was always a hard work for Kai’s team. And after all that mess, there was still the matter of catching the rampant Shikigami…
“Wait, wait,” Hiroto cut off, “I went with the team that was dispatched to deal with a Shikigami three months ago. The container medium was wrecked to pieces, but I could still see some residual aura around it. If the thing that was bothering Yuu had been a Shikigami, then I would have seen traces of it as well.”
Hearing Hiroto speak, the small hope that had emerged in Kai’s mind sank right back into the pit of desperation. But he couldn’t blame Hiroto for being such a party spoiler, because what he just said was right; if there had been a Shikigami, he would have easily discovered its aura, or at least what’s left of it. The man might be young and slightly reckless, but his eyesight had never failed them when they were out on duty.
“You’ve got a point, Hiroto,” Kai said. “However, I’m still going to note this down. We need to investigate every possibility that we can think of.”
The meeting continued for another hour, in which Ruki dozed through most of it and Kai got himself another cup of tea. Several other ideas were thrown into the discussion, such as tanuki
(although it would take a lot to bribe a tanuki to make it do something against its will), bakemono
, a zashiki warashi
(not very likely; zashiki warashi were usually very friendly, except toward people who never cleaned up their houses), and all kinds of yokai that everyone could think of.
They were in the middle of arguing about witches and hexes when Kai finally felt he had enough. This discussion would never reach the end since no one here actually knew what they were up against, not even the slightest clue of it.
“Alright, alright,” Kai lifted his hands to silence his staff members. “Byou, stop it with the chant, you might actually curse someone with it if you go on.”
Byou immediately stopped in the middle of muttering a nose-breaking hex, and the rest of the people in the room went quiet. With everyone’s eyes on him, Kai took a deep breath and spoke up.
“Okay, I’ve been listening to all of your ideas. And based on our discussion, I’ve already written like two dozen possibilities—all of which are specifically difficult to handle. This is too random. We can go on with our guessing game but that’s not going to be very helpful, and it will take too much of our time. What we really have to do is further research.”
“Well, Ruki is already on surveillance,” said Uruha. At the mention of his name, the said assistant spluttered awake from his snooze and lifted his head from the desk, blearily eyeing the entire room.
“Yes, but so far the surveillance has been limited to only within Yuu’s apartment,” Kai laid out. “We need more information—about Yuu’s friends, colleagues; people with whom he works with. If we want to sort a list of suspects, then we have to figure out that much. Even if it ends up being a Shikigami, there’s someone behind it, and we need to find out who he or she is.”
Kai turned to Ruki. The man seemed still half-asleep, because all he did was stare emptily at the desk. “Ruki, did you hear what I just said?” Kai asked.
Kai sighed. “I was telling everyone here that we should intensify the surveillance on Yuu. Now, since you’re the one in charge of that task, I need you to keep your ears open for just a short moment and listen to me now, okay? Good.”
The afternoon was humid, with signs of rain hanging low in the skies outside the institute. It was only 4 p.m., but the darkness cast by the clouds made the atmosphere look like it was already sundown. The first roar of thunder rumbled across the skies just when Kai finished tidying up his desk. He exhaled heavily; it would be a slippery drive home, and not to mention he was planning to make a stop at the convenience store. Without the stop there would be no dinner, and he was getting very tired of eating delivery’s pizza. He had no choice.
He plugged off the cable of his computer and stepped away from his desk. Maybe if he hurried he would make it home before the rain got too heavy.
“Rough day, huh?”
Kai looked up to find Uruha leaning on the doorway of his office, a big grin stretching on his face.
“I’ve had worse,” Kai smirked at Uruha. He shouldered his bag and was just about to walk out of the room when Uruha pointed toward his desk.
“You’re going to leave your cellphone?” the séance expert said, chuckling.
At that, Kai looked over his shoulder. It wasn’t a surprise that his cellphone was still on the desk, its charger cable right next to it. If Uruha hadn’t said a word then he would have neglected it—again, in fact, because he had forgotten his phone along with a lot of other things many times before.
Laughing, Kai grabbed his phone and charger, and slipped them into his bag. “What would I do without you, Uruha?” he said, making his way toward Uruha.
“You would probably be buying a new phone every month and get a dozen duplicates for your car keys,” Uruha said. “I suspect you might even forget your way home.”
The two of them laughed, Uruha’s arm around Kai’s shoulder as they walked across the now empty office. Everybody else had gone home after the meeting. Kai still remembered the intimidated look on Ruki’s face when he got up from his seat; it was an intimidating task, even Kai had to admit, but Ruki was on duty and this was a part of his responsibility. Personally, Kai thought it would be good for Ruki to start hanging out with a totally different circle of people—God only knows how cooped up that guy was in his apartment, books, and work.
Kai would probably send someone along too—probably Reita or Uruha—to make sure Ruki could keep himself in check. And the next thing he could do was pray that everything would go as planned.
They stepped out of the building, and at once the breeze hit them. Uruha shivered slightly; he was only wearing a thin white shirt over his black t-shirt.
“I’m having nabe tonight, care to join?” Kai asked. “I mean, I still owe you the latte you asked me this morning, right? I totally forgot about that, so I’ll pay it back with dinner.”
“Kai, did you just make a move on me?” Uruha laughed. “As a matter of fact, yes, I’d love to. You have no idea how bored I am with the ramen restaurant across the street.”
“Tell me about it. I’ve been having take-outs and deliveries way too often my tongue is getting numb,” Kai shook his head. “Anyways, there are several things I’d like to discuss with you regarding Yuu’s case.”
“Aww… we’re going to talk about work during our date?”
Kai hoped he wasn’t blushing. “Oh, shush you.”
They had reached the parking lot; Kai’s silver sedan was waiting silently on its usual spot. Uruha’s blue car was parked right behind it.
“It’s about Ruki, actually. I’m getting a little doubtful that putting him in the assignment was a good idea after all,” Kai continued, reaching into his pocket for his car keys.
“Oh?” One of Uruha’s perfect eyebrows arched upward. He seemed to be intrigued by what Kai just said. “What makes you think so?”
A smile stretched on Kai’s face. “It’ll be easier to talk about it while facing a steaming hot pot of nabe,” he said. “Now come on before it rains. Oh, and you’re going to have to help me with the groceries.”
- TO BE CONTINUED -
* I inserted links to the names of creatures in the text (Wikipedia, as always... lol), you can click on them to read the explanation about what those are.
* Too lazy to italicize the foreign terms... sorry. OTL
* Did you notice? I added a new pairing in the header. Hehehe.
* Ok, comments, please? :DPrevious chapters: 1
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