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?"
Uruha raised his eyebrows, curious, as Kai lowered his phone onto the desk. He hadn’t been able to overhear much of the conversation Kai had just had, but he had caught a hint that the caller had been Ruki. A few days had passed since their last meeting, and Uruha had been wondering how far Ruki’s investigation had progressed. To be frank, he was worried. In his humble opinion, Ruki was just not cut up to be working an undercover job. He was too straightforward, too reserved to play the part—to play any part, that is, because the most important thing in undercover was acting talent. And Ruki… well, as far as Uruha could tell, was nowhere near being talented in that matter.
He was just hoping that Ruki had just called to bring them some good news.
Kai looked up from his phone to Uruha, and shrugged. “He said he might have a suspect,” he said, “a girl named Kyoko who works as one of Yuu’s makeup artists. Ruki was able to confirm that she was the girl who sent Yuu the teddy bear.”
“The poorly-jinxed teddy bear?” Uruha asked. “I doubt that someone with such a sad jinxing skill can cause all the things that have been happening to Yuu.”
“I’m thinking the same thing too, Uruha,” Kai sighed. “But so far, she’s our top suspect. I told Ruki to keep an eye on her, while broadening his search on other possible suspects. I’ve been doing research on my own, but I’ve always ended with either nothing or too many possibilities.”
Uruha looked at Kai and knew at once that he was right. They had already put Ruki in the case; their only chance was to proceed with the plan and hope it would bring them good results. Uruha wished he could be more optimistic, but it was really hard considering the very little progress they were making so far. The case had taken quite some time already and they still didn’t have enough information to decide what they should do. No, never mind that; they couldn’t even tell what creature was causing the problems. The investigation was moving slowly and it was frustrating.
“We need to talk to Ayame, to see if she’s got any analysis done about the situation so far. Normally she would have already handed me an entire list of possible causes and an even longer essay on ways to deal with them. But I think she’s having some difficulties with this case as well.”
Kai exhaled again, one long heavy breath. He looked tired, as if he hadn’t slept for days—which might not be too farfetched. Kai could get very restless when he had a lot in his mind, and once that happened, he would stay up for days. Uruha had often warned him about his unhealthy tendency, had also suggested a number of ways that could possibly help him sleep easier (including alcohol, of course), but as the saying goes, ‘old habits die hard’.
With a heavy sigh, Uruha tried to bury his concern in the back of his mind, and smiled. No use worrying about it so much right now—Kai was doing enough worrying for four people anyways. What Uruha could do was be a little more positive. He had to put more faith in Ruki and support the plan in any way he could. Who knows? Maybe the case would be solved sooner and much easier than he thought.
He pushed himself off of the wall where he had been leaning on, and walked around the desk and behind Kai’s chair. He put his hands on Kai’s shoulders and massaged gently.
“That frown is so unbecoming of you,” he said, smiling. “You’ve gotten wrinkly around your eyes, did you know that? Now come on, I think it’s nearing lunch break already. I still owe you for the dinner last night.”
Kai’s light-hearted laugh filled the room. His shoulder still felt tense under Uruha’s fingers, but it seemed like he was relaxing bit by bit.
“I didn’t expect you would think of it as a debt,” he said, still laughing. “Not when you eat at my place like three times a week.”
Uruha felt the smile on his face turning into a grin. “Oh, really? Do I really come that often?” he teased. “Well, how could I help it, Kai? I feel nauseous whenever I can’t eat your cooking. I wonder if it’s a symptom of an illness that I’m developing recently.”
“Oh, shut up you!” Kai laughed a little louder.
With a couple of gentle taps on Kai’s shoulder, Uruha stepped back. He smiled expectantly as Kai stood up from his seat. As soon as they were side by side, he slung an arm around Kai’s shoulder.
“Great,” Uruha said, “I’ve been dying to tell you about this new restaurant just down the street…”
Ruki slipped his phone back into his pocket after he finished his report to Kai. He didn’t like the fact that he hadn’t had a lot to report, but it was probably better than nothing. His opinion still stood; the girl that he had mentioned to Kai, Kyoko, did seem suspicious. From what Ruki had found out, she was the one responsible for the jinxed teddy bear in Yuu’s apartment. That might not serve as strong evidence, but it was the closest lead he had. Kai had also advised him to continue with his research, so that’s what he was going to do.
Funny that he currently felt eager, as opposed to being miserable like he had felt when he was first handed the task. He wanted to find out the culprit as soon as possible; he wanted to be done with this case. It wasn’t that he didn’t like being around Yuu, although he thought he might have been a little uncomfortable at first. But it turned out Yuu was a fun guy to be around—yet that’s exactly why he wanted this to end soon. He didn’t like seeing Yuu so agitated every night in his sleep, obviously terrified that something would be bothering him again when he was off guard. If it kept on going, soon enough it would affect his health, his work, and maybe even his sanity.
Ruki intended to do what he could to prevent that. And if that meant he had to put forth his close-to-zero acting talent, then he would do just that.
The journey back to Yuu’s apartment was mostly uneventful, but it was probably because Ruki wasn’t paying attention to anything much except his own thoughts. Somewhere along the way, though, he turned his whole focus to Kazuki’s and Yuu’s conversation. It was when he heard the name ‘Kyoko’ being mentioned.
“Lunch wasn’t great? You’re just saying you want Kyoko to bring you lunch again,” Kazuki scoffed, smoothly turning the steering wheel to the left.
“I’m not saying the catering wasn’t doing their job like they should,” Yuu said. “But now that you’ve mentioned it, I do kind of wish she would bring me gyoza
like the ones she brought the other day.”
“You do know that if she keeps bringing food for you, the catering team will be left with no job to do. And she might lose focus on her own job, too. Imagine having to wake up really early to make lunch for you every day.”
Yuu laughed. “I think you’re just jealous that she’s making lunch for me but not for you.”
“Oh, come on,” Kazuki shook his head. “Why should I even be jealous? Her cooking is not that
The car lurched into the driveway that led into Yuu’s apartment complex. Through the window, Ruki could see that the afternoon was slowly becoming darker. The sun was setting on the horizon behind the apartment buildings, casting long, seemingly ominous shadows all across the yard. Night was approaching, and it made Ruki feel slightly anxious. He couldn’t help wondering if something strange would happen again tonight.
Ruki kept his ears wide open while they made their way up to Yuu’s apartment, making sure he heard all he needed to know about Kyoko. He hadn’t expected he would get extra information about that girl this soon, from Yuu and Kazuki of all people, but he would take all the chance he got.
“I have no reason to be jealous,” Kazuki insisted. “To tell you the truth, she is actually giving me the creeps.”
“Why?” Yuu asked. “She’s a nice girl.”
“How can you even tell that she’s nice? She hardly ever talks. She just sits there quietly, staring at you at every chance she’s got.”
“What are you talking about?” Yuu laughed. “Why would she be staring at me?”
“Aoi, seriously, just how oblivious exactly are you?” Kazuki shook his head in disbelief. “She’s beaming like a neon light whenever you show up in front of her. And why do you think she keeps bringing you stuff from lunch to gifts from her hometown?”
“Well, I just thought she liked doing that, you know, sharing stuff with the crew,” Yuu shrugged. “I wasn’t thinking she had an ulterior motive or whatever.”
The three of them entered a vacant elevator; Kazuki pressed the number 6 with a practiced ease, and soon they were heading upward.
Ruki was too focused in noting the things he overheard in his mind that he hardly even noticed when Yuu asked him a question. “Huh?” he stuttered, feeling like a deer caught in the headlights when he saw Yuu staring at him. “What was it again?”
“I asked you what you thought about her. I think I saw you talk to her and the rest of the makeup and wardrobe team today,” Yuu repeated. An amused look graced his face; Ruki felt himself blushing being caught while he was distracted.
“I did,” Ruki answered Yuu’s question, just in time with the sound of a chime that told them they had reached the 6th floor. They filed out of the elevator, and continued walking toward Yuu’s apartment.
“I thought at first that she was nervous,” Ruki resumed. “But I suppose she was just naturally quiet and reserved. She didn’t talk very much and mostly just kept to herself, very much unlike her friend.”
“You mean Mika? Oh yes, that girl doesn’t ever stop talking,” Yuu laughed. “It often makes me wonder how a girl as quiet as Kyoko can get along so well with someone like Mika.”
“I’m not usually a good judge of character, especially about people whom I’ve just met. I also haven’t had what you might call a decent conversation with her. But I think that maybe Kyoko is a nice girl, at least in her own way,” Ruki finished, stopping himself before he blurted the fact about the teddy bear that he had found out earlier. He didn’t think it would be wise to tell Yuu and Kazuki about that. Like all case-related information, he would rather confirm it with Kai first before recklessly telling anyone else, even Yuu.
“Maybe you should spend some more time talking to her too, Kazuki,” Yuu turned to his manager. “Maybe then you’ll find that she’s not as creepy as you think.”
Kazuki merely rolled his eyes and ignored Yuu’s suggestion.
The three of them reached apartment number 612. Yuu fished his keys from his pocket, and opened the door of his apartment. He made a move to enter his apartment; Kazuki, however, stepped back.
“I’ve got phonecalls to make tonight about your appointments tomorrow,” the manager said, sighing. “And I still haven’t had the time to do my laundry since last week. I better get to it as soon as I can before I have cockroaches making a nest in my room.”
“Okay, don’t exert yourself, you workaholic,” Yuu grinned. He gave his manager a pat on the shoulder, and watched as the man walked away back toward the elevator. Ruki reminded himself that Kazuki lived in the same building, only two stories above their heads.
He almost felt regretful about leaving the bathroom, already missing the moments he had been able to spend in the bathtub, where he could let warm water caress his skin and ease his nerves. Too soon for his liking, he was reminded of what a tense day it had been. Working on his very first undercover task had not been easy for him, and to make it worse, he had to come face to face with a universe that, before today, had only existed on his television screen. Entertainment industry was definitely worlds away from his daily life. There were some aspects that he had found fascinating, but mostly there had been too much glamour and bright lights for him to stomach. Meeting the people who worked on the set and learning what usually happened there every day had successfully made him feel tense, both physically and mentally, the whole day through.
He wondered how Ryoga, Naoki and everyone else in the Undercover Section managed day after day to adjust themselves with many different situations. It must have been a skill they were just born with.
Barefooted, the tiles felt slightly cold against his feet. He rushed a bit until he could feel the welcoming warmth and soft, furry surface of the carpet in the living room, but then he abruptly stopped. His ears caught sounds coming from the bedroom—its door was slightly ajar. He stood almost totally motionless. Those sounds seemed to have come right up from the bottom of his memories, from his younger days that he thought he had completely left behind when he graduated high school.
It was a song by B’z, Ruki recalled faintly as the melodies of an acoustic guitar continued filling the air around him. The title was Konya Tsuki no Mieru Oka ni
, a song that was really famous in its time, which was more than a decade ago. The melodies came out a little shaky, as if the fingers playing those strings were nervous or out of practice, but he was certain it was that very song. The last time he had heard someone playing an acoustic guitar cover of that song was when…
With escalating heartbeats, Ruki proceeded to the direction of the bedroom. As far as he knew, there were only him and Yuu in the apartment, so it couldn’t have been anyone else. But still, upon seeing Yuu playing his guitar, his eyes went wide and his jaw hung loose. The actor was sitting on the edge of the bed, a polished brown acoustic guitar perched on his lap. His fingers were moving across the strings with a certain familiarity, delivering the song to Ruki’s eardrums.
He opened the door a few inches wider, and peeked carefully inside. And then he tiptoed clumsily into the room, afraid to disturb Yuu and the song he was playing. But fortunately, even though Yuu seemed to notice him entering the room, he didn’t stop strumming the guitar.
“I can’t remember the last time I played this song.” Yuu’s voice mingled gently with the tunes coming from the guitar. “High school, I think. My band used to do a lot of cover of B’z’s songs.”Yeah, high school. During school festival, to be exact.
Ruki thought in silence, eyes never leaving those fingers and their lithe dance across the strings. Some of the melodies came out wrong, but Ruki kept listening without protest. Just like Yuu said, it had been quite a while since the last time he played this song. It sounded good enough for Ruki anyways, but that was probably because he hadn’t the slightest idea about how to play a guitar.
The song eventually came to a stop when one of Yuu’s hands left the guitar and patted the bed’s surface right next to him. “Come, sit down,” he looked at Ruki, smiling. An award winning smile that turned Ruki’s legs to jelly.
For some reason that he didn’t understand, Ruki didn’t trip as he made his way toward the bed. He sat down safely beside Yuu, making sure there was enough space between the two of them so that he wouldn’t accidentally knock off Yuu’s guitar—he could be very clumsy and humiliating when he was nervous.
“Old school bands are the best,” Yuu said. “Well, at least in my opinion. Their songs never grow old. I can listen to the songs that used to be popular when I was younger, over and over again, and never get bored of them.”
A random chord rang from the guitar, following the movement of Yuu’s hand on the strings. The actor’s eyes were brimming with nostalgia, it was almost impossible to look straight into them.
“What’s your favorite band, Ruki?”
It should have been a simple question, a topic that could have been brought by two guys who were having a leisure conversation during lunch break. But to Ruki it didn’t seem to make sense, at first. He was too preoccupied by struggling to find a spot on Yuu’s face to stare at that wouldn’t make his heart burst inside his ribcage.
“Uh,” Ruki mumbled as soon as he found his voice. “I don’t like one band in particular. I mean—I listen to many different kinds of music, but most of the times I don’t pay attention to the band or the artist. But I guess you’re right; songs from our high school days are a lot more memorable than modern songs.”
He saw Yuu arching one of his eyebrows, and instantly wondered if he had said something funny.
“Yeah, high school days…” Yuu nodded wistfully. “Those days were gold.”
There was a glint in Yuu’s eyes that was unnerving to watch, so Ruki averted his gaze to somewhere else less intimidating—the nightstand, for instance.
Ruki didn’t get to spend too much time staring at the small lamp on top of the nightstand—at how round it was and how smooth its surface was and all other unimportant details of it—because he suddenly felt the bed move underneath him. He turned around to see Yuu standing up, guitar in his hands and a smile on his face. Ruki kept his thoughts to himself, but to be honest he felt a little bit sorry that Yuu had stopped playing his guitar.
“Alright, we better get some rest,” Yuu said, already on his way to stash his guitar. “Kazuki hasn’t told me yet, but I’m pretty sure I have an early schedule tomorrow. We’re shooting a commercial on a rooftop… or something like that.” Yuu frowned; he was probably trying to remember his schedule. And then he shrugged, and turned right back to Ruki, “You’re coming with us again, aren’t you?”
Ruki answered with an awkward nod, and then watched as Yuu left the room with a ‘I’m taking a bath
’ spoken over his shoulder. It was a few minutes later that Ruki finally stood up and made his way to the makeshift futon right next to Yuu’s bed that had served as his little nest for the past couple of days. He shuffled into the covers and puffed the pillow under his head. It’s a sad spot to sleep in, he knew, but Yuu wouldn’t let him sleep elsewhere and he sure as hell couldn’t sleep in Yuu’s bed (despite Yuu’s numerous attempt at persuading him).
The notes from the song he had heard Yuu playing were still ringing in his head, clear and haunting, as he lied down and stared at the ceiling, wondering what kind of day he would be facing tomorrow.
- TO BE CONTINUED -
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