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?"
Ruki woke up with a start, thinking someone had crashed into his apartment—a burglar, or most likely his ever-annoying neighbor who always seemed so intent on informing him what garbage day it was at the abnormal hours in the morning. He sat up in bed, blinked his eyes blearily, and soon realized that he wasn’t in his own apartment. Once his drowsiness had subsided a little and his mind could cooperate, he remembered where he was. He was in Yuu’s apartment, Yuu’s bedroom, to be exact. He was sitting on his futon on the floor—his lower vertebrae hurt a bit; it was quite a thin futon—with his blanket tangled around his legs.
He yawned, a little disoriented, wondering what noise he had heard earlier. He crawled out of his cocoon of blankets, ran his fingers through his hair, and stood up.
Yuu’s bed was empty.
He looked around the room. Sunshine, still gentle in its early wake, was streaming through the curtains, bathing the room in a warm sepia wash of color. It couldn’t be later than 8 or 9 a.m., he guessed. In his own room, back in his apartment, it was always easy to estimate what time it was even though he wasn’t looking at the clock. But here, here he felt a little disoriented. Not to mention Yuu didn’t have a large clock hanging on the wall like the one Ruki had in his room to tell him what time it was. Ruki figured someone like Yuu wouldn’t need an alarm or clock to be able to wake up in the morning; he had his manager to call him and remind him of his schedule.
It’s just one of the perks of being a famous actor, Ruki supposed.
After another minute, he finally decided that the source of the sound that had woken him up hadn’t come from this room. Quickly, he tidied up his futon, ran his hands through his hair (although he wasn’t sure what good that might do), and walked outside. He could hear some more noises, like metal clanging against another hard surface, and then the sound of someone cursing.
The corridor was empty, and so was the living room. And then he turned his sight at the kitchen.
He actually spent the first minute trying to figure out what was happening before his eyes. Maybe it was because he had never seen Yuu using the things in his kitchen during his stay in this apartment, or maybe it was because he had somehow imagined some invisible maid was always on standby, serving food for Yuu whenever he needed it. Either way, it was hard for him to visualize Yuu cooking
Well, it looked like he was cooking. For the most part he seemed to be trying to demolish his cooking utensils along with the entire kitchen. He was clad in what he had been wearing last night when he went to bed, a dark brown t-shirt and black jersey pants. His bed-hair looked nice, definitely a lot nicer than Ruki’s. He was humming a tune from a song that Ruki had never heard of before. But the tune was abruptly cut off when suddenly Yuu yelped loudly.
Ruki hurried toward him, worrying for the worst.
“Are you okay?” he asked, cringing when he approached a little bit closer. Yuu was holding his right thumb in his left hand. He had a grimace on his face that told Ruki that he was in pain.
“Ruki, you’re up, hey,” he grinned awkwardly. “Yeah, I’m fine, it’s just…” He wiggled his thumb, “I took a hold of the wrong side of the pan.”
Thoughtlessly Ruki grabbed Yuu’s hand and took a closer look of the injured thumb. The tip looked a little red. It wasn’t swollen, not yet. Hurriedly Ruki opened the faucet nearby, and pulled Yuu along until he could hold the injured thumb under the running water.
“You have to keep it under running water for at least ten minutes,” Ruki said, “to prevent it from becoming swollen. And then you can apply some Aloe Vera
or salve on it to ease the pain.”
“I think I have anti-inflammation salve in the bathroom,” Yuu said, making him turn his attention toward the man speaking, and only then that Ruki realized that he had been gripping Yuu’s hand. He quickly released it, his face burning as if he had been the one standing too close to the stove.
“Umm, yeah, so you just… keep your thumb under the water for a while,” he said, stuttering. “I’ll go get the salve.”
A few minutes later Ruki returned to the kitchen, salve and a roll of bandage in hand. He found Yuu hovering just beside the stove, peering over at something that seemed to be sizzling inside a pan. Ruki shook his head; after what had happened he expected Yuu would’ve been more careful before he hurt any other part of his body, but just look at him.
Ruki sighed. “What exactly are you doing?” he asked, handing Yuu the salve and bandage. He eyed the pan on top of the stove, discerning a lump of mess that looked a lot like scrambled egg, only the color was bright orange.
“I’m cooking breakfast,” Yuu answered with a shrug, as if it should have been obvious.
“Is this egg? Why is it orange?”
“I think I put in too much ketchup,” Yuu laughed.
Ruki looked at him incredulously. “You put ketchup into the egg?”
Again, Yuu shrugged. “I just thought it would taste good with ketchup,” he said. “Sorry, I don’t usually cook for myself.”
“Obviously,” Ruki sighed. “Here, let me see if I can do something about this.”
He grabbed a spatula and started mixing the orange mess in the pan. The egg was still half-cooked, so he thought it was still worth saving.
“Once you’re done bandaging your finger, can you help me grab some rice from the magic jar?” he said to Yuu. “And then some chives. I think you still have some in your refrigerator.”
He tried not to feel too bothered by the fact that he had already memorized where Yuu kept various things in his apartment. He had been here for almost a whole week after all.
Soon, Yuu sidled up to his side with a bowl of steaming rice and a handful of chives. Ruki dumped the content of the bowl into the pan, and following right after, a spoonful of butter. "You can never add enough creamy butter to a sizzling hot scrambled egg,"
said his mother a long, long time ago. And true enough, as the scent of melting butter wafted from the pan to fill the entire room, Ruki could feel his mouth becoming watery.
“I didn’t know you’re so good at cooking.”
It was the worst timing in the world, really; Ruki was chopping the chives and he nearly cut his own finger because of the shock. Not because of the compliment itself, but because of how Yuu had practically whispered the words right into his ear. His heart throbbed against his ribs, his hands were shaking, but thankfully no damage had been done (his finger was, thank goodness, still intact). It took nearly every ounce of his courage to gently elbow Yuu on the stomach so he would back away for a bit. Ruki could really use some space, especially from Yuu, before he himself suffered any injury.
“You just go get a couple of plates ready, okay?” Ruki pointed his spatula toward Yuu in a threatening manner. “The further you are from the stove, the safest it is for both of us.”
Yuu laughed, looking amused rather than offended, and stepped aside to do what Ruki had asked him to. Amidst the sounds of ceramic plates clanking against the surface of the dinner table, Yuu chattered cheerfully.
“You’re my savior. I was so close to just dump everything into the trashcan and call for delivery instead,” he said. “Where did you learn how to cook?”
Ruki scooped the chives he had finely chopped and put them into the pan. He added black pepper, salt, and a little bit of soy sauce. It would probably taste a lot better with a pinch of katsuobushi
—Ruki liked to add it to anything, anything—but he didn’t think Yuu ever thought of keeping a stock of it in his almost non-existent stock of cooking ingredients. He was already lucky that Yuu actually had pepper and salt.
“I guess I began by looking at my mom when she cooked for the family,” Ruki answered Yuu’s question. “And then by the time I moved away and started living by myself, I found out that sometimes it saved a lot of money if I cooked my own food. It’s not exactly a hobby by choice, no. But I do get a certain sense of satisfaction when I manage to whip up something edible. Like, wow, what do you know, I can actually cook this.”
A moment stretched where the sound of food crackling gently in the pan became the only noises heard, and then Ruki got the feeling that he was being watched. True enough, when he turned around, Yuu was staring at him with twinkles in his eyes and a smile on his lips. Ruki be damned if his stomach didn’t just do a backflip at the sight.
Yuu’s smile broadened into a grin. “This is the longest I hear you talking.” He was standing a few feet away, his back leaning against the refrigerator, his arms folded in front of his chest. “It was always Kai or the others talking, but not you. You were usually sitting on the side, observing, quiet. Only when you were asked to talk would you talk, and even then you would only say a handful of syllables. I thought I could never get you to talking, especially not about yourself.”
Ruki could feel himself blushing from head to toe. He averted his gaze back into the pan; the rice was just about ready to serve. With slightly shaky hands, he picked up the pan and made his way to the dinner table, where he served the rice-and-egg on the plates that Yuu had prepared. It looked and smelled delicious—he could only hope it tasted delicious as well.
“Well, dig in,” Ruki mumbled, unable to lift his gaze at Yuu.
Yuu laughed. “You’re embarrassed.”
“No,” Ruki said defensively. He pulled a chair and sat down. “It’s just…well, you’re kind of right. I’m not used to talking to people, except during meetings at the institute.”
“Yes, really.” He shrugged, “I’m not an outgoing person. I don’t hangout with people, I don’t spend hours on the phone talking with friends. I just don’t.”
There was something unreadable in Yuu’s eyes when Ruki finally managed to brace himself and looked up at him. But it was soon replaced by his usual million yen smile.
“You can probably hear it but stomach is growling,” he said, grabbing a spoon and began scooping some of Ruki’s cooking into his mouth. Ruki stared, half relieved that Yuu had steered away from the topic, and half nervous about letting Yuu eat his cooking. It seemed like an entire minute had passed before Yuu finally reacted.
The reaction came out more as a squeak than anything else.
Ruki stared at him, wide-eyed, worried that Yuu had accidentally swallowed something that got stuck in his throat. But then Yuu laughed.
“Oh my God,” he said, spooning more rice-and-egg into his mouth. His eyes were sparkling when he looked at Ruki. “Oh my God, this is so good
The scene wasn’t immediately registered in Ruki’s head, not the way Yuu was eating nor the comment that he had just said (with a mouthful of Ruki’s cooking). But once it did, Ruki could feel his face heating up again. It couldn’t be that good, could it? He tasted a spoonful of the rice; well, it tasted okay, but it wasn’t special. With such a limited amount of ingredients in Yuu’s kitchen, he wasn’t sure he could concoct anything extraordinary.
“I’m sorry,” Yuu chuckled. Ruki really hoped he would slow down, otherwise he was going to choke for real. “But this is really good,” the actor continued, grinning, “I can’t remember the last time I ate anything so heartwarming.”
“Really?” Ruki asked disbelievingly. Someone like Yuu surely had eaten in fancy restaurants, places where the chefs were graduates from international cooking academies. This thing that Ruki had cooked, it definitely wasn’t what one would consider as high-class culinary.
Yuu nodded. “Really. Well, you see, I don’t get to eat homemade meal regularly. I myself can’t cook to save my life, so the only place I get to enjoy that kind of luxury is when I go home to my parents’ place, but that doesn’t happen very often. So, yeah, this is really good.”
Ruki mulled over what Yuu had just told him, watching as the actor finished his breakfast with a happy look on his face. He had since long realized that their lives were different, very different, but with this piece of information the distance stretched just a little bit further. He wondered how often Yuu visited his family, how his busy schedule affected his personal life. He thought about his own family—his mother, with her endless fussing and random urge to gossip regardless of the place and time; his father, his strict, almost totally conservative father. No matter how busy Ruki was at the institute, he had to spare some time to go home and visit them at least once a month. His mother said there shouldn’t be any kind of job in this world that kept a child away from their family. He understood the logic behind her words, but making time to visit them in a regular basis could get a bit troublesome sometimes.Well, there are billions of people in this world and everyone leads a different life. There’s a famous actor, and there’s a Curses and Jinxes expert who works in the Paranormal Studies Center.
It’s weird that their lives should intertwine with one another, and even funnier to think that Yuu had been his senior in high-school—not that Yuu realized that. It’s like, at one point in his life Ruki had existed in the same time and space as Yuu, but then somewhere along the way their paths parted, leading them to completely different worlds. Now, years after that, these paths had somehow reconnected in a way that Ruki had never imagined. They both had changed into different persons, leading different lives—there were so many differences, and each was so stark it sometimes made Ruki feel uncomfortable.
Fate, Ruki decided, had a weird sense of humor.
“You soap I rinse.”
Ruki lifted his eyebrows at that, but moved toward the sink anyways, a stack of plates and dirty spoons in his hands. He didn’t say it out loud, but he thought someone like Yuu would have an automatic dish washer or something in this apartment. Again, this might just be Ruki thinking based on prejudice, but he had a hard time believing that Yuu would be doing his own dish-washing manually.
He lathered the dishes with soap water, and started scrubbing. Yuu was standing right next to him, humming slowly; his voice sounded smooth in between the sound of water splashing against the bottom of the sink.Well, isn’t this funny,
Ruki thought to himself. Yuu’s presence had somehow warmed up to him even without him realizing it. It didn’t feel as awkward as it used to be the day they first met, or the few days after that. Maybe staying in the same apartment—hell, the same bedroom—had helped Ruki to push away a part of his discomfort. Maybe.
He knew it seemed a bit cruel that he felt happy about the situation. He wasn’t happy about Yuu’s life turning into a rollercoaster of unwelcomed supernatural mayhem, but he was thrilled about being able to become close to Yuu. Truth be told, in high school he used to have a little crush on Yuu. This wasn’t something he could tell anyone, ever, for obvious reasons, but Yuu was such a charismatic person even in high school. He wasn’t the smartest student in school, but for what he lacked he substituted with other talents such as acting, music, and charming people with his suave way of talking.
Nothing seemed to change much, except the fact that Yuu seemed to have learned how to use his talents and become who he was now.
As for the way Ruki felt about the man right now… No. It was a high school thing. It was a long time ago, and now he was completely over it. All these awkwardness that he felt were nothing unusual; he always felt awkward around people he wasn’t familiar with. All he thought about Yuu at the moment was just he was his client. Everything was strictly professional.
He tried not to dwell on the nagging thought that all of this was just an effort to convince himself.
And then, all of a sudden, the entire left part of his face was soaked wet.
“Yuu! What are you doing?!” Ruki yelped, dropping a bowl—plastic, thankfully, nothing breakable—into the sink as he jerked sideways. He raised a hand to his cheek, the cheek that Yuu had splashed with water.
Yuu didn’t look anywhere near sorry. Instead, he chuckled, pointing at Ruki’s face. “You just covered your own face with soap!” he said, wheezing with laughter.
Ruki gasped, his instant reaction was to wipe his face with his hands, only to realize that he was only making it worse. He could taste soap water in his mouth, so bitter he had to spit it back out. “Yuu!” he shouted, and flailed his hands about, getting soap water everywhere.
Yuu laughed even harder, skipping back to avoid getting splashed. But Ruki would not have it; he stretched his arms forward, wet, dripping hands poised toward Yuu, and jumped ahead. Yuu tried to run, but Ruki was smaller built (not that he would happily admit it) and he could move fast if he wanted to. The next thing he knew, his palms were on Yuu’s cheeks, getting slippery soap water all over the man’s face. Yuu was cringing, eyes tightly shut, yelping, begging
for Ruki to stop. Too bad for the guy, but Ruki could be mean too.
Pretty soon they were wrestling, water splashing everywhere, wetting their hairs and faces and clothes, and also the floor. At one point Yuu got him locked with one arm, while with his free hand he was pouring a handful of water onto Ruki’s hair. Ruki screamed, partially laughing, and then swerved, sneaking away from Yuu’s hold. With one hand he pushed Yuu back a bit so that he could dash toward the sink. But before he could get far, Yuu grabbed his arm and pulled him back. Ruki lost his balance—the floor had become very slippery—and fell against Yuu, his back hitting a firm chest.
“Oof!” Yuu huffed, but the impact didn’t seem to hurt him, because he was still laughing. His arm was holding Ruki around his chest; his breath felt warm against Ruki’s neck. “You’re pretty fast for a short guy.”
“Say short one more time and I’m going to make you swallow an entire bottle of soap,” Ruki grunted, struggling to get himself free from Yuu’s hold. No, height issues didn’t really bother him… not too much. “Let me go!”
“Okay, okay! So feisty.”
Yuu finally loosened his hold. Ruki turned around, keeping an alert stance just in case.
“I’m calling a truce!” Yuu lifted his hands in a gesture of surrender, but his grin was still stretched so wide on his face. “No more splashing, okay? We’ve already made my kitchen look like it’s gone through a tsunami.”
“Well, you started it,” Ruki huffed, relaxing. He hadn’t realized it before, but his face felt hot, and he wasn’t sure it was because he had exerted himself during the water-splashing-battle that just happened. For some reason he couldn’t get his mind off of the feeling of Yuu’s breath on his neck.
“I did,” Yuu said cheerfully. “But at least I got rid of that serious look on your face.”
If Ruki hadn’t been blushing like an idiot before, he sure was now. But Yuu was right; that little battle of water and soap between them had successfully driven out the thoughts that had clouded Ruki’s mind earlier.
“But I’m all wet now.” Ruki didn’t mean to sound childish. He felt unreasonably upset, but deep inside he wasn’t sure it was because his hair was dripping sudsy water onto his clothes.
“That makes the two of us, Mister Obvious,” Yuu countered back, one of his brows arched amusedly. “If you haven’t noticed, I’m also thoroughly drenched, thank you very much.”
Ruki flinched—he couldn’t help it—when Yuu reached out and ruffled his wet hair; more water splashing to all direction. Inside of him, his nerves snapping like rubber bands strained to their limits. It took every last strand of his willpower just to remain calm and stay on the spot, rather than fleeing as far as he could possibly go like what his brain was telling him to.
It felt good, even though it was just Yuu’s hand touching his head. It felt good—heart-warming, skin-prickling kind of good—and in that instant Ruki knew he was doomed.
He intended to say something witty as a retort to Yuu, and he would have probably tried to push his hand away from his head and then said something else that was just as witty, but before he could do anything, he felt a tug on the back of his t-shirt collar. His eyes shot open, wide. The next thing he knew, he was being wrenched backward, away from Yuu. Whoever—or whatever—pulled him apparently had enough strength to easily drag him across the kitchen, and then throw him hard against the table.
Ruki could feel something in him crack, one of his rib bones probably. The next thing he knew, the entire left side of his body hurt like nothing else he had experienced in his life. With a gasp he crumbled onto the floor.
From that second on all he could see was nothing but a moving blur. He could vaguely see Yuu approaching him; could hear Yuu’s voice, his panicked shrieks and his repeated “Ruki, are you okay?” question. He wanted to answer, "no, I’m not okay, can’t you see that I’ve just got thrown against a table?"
but all he could do was wheeze, struggling to breathe through all the pain invading his body. Yuu grabbed his arm, but in a blink of an eye, something pushed him away with such a force he was skidding across the floor until he was ten feet away from Ruki.
Ruki lifted his right hand—his left side felt like on fire because of the pain in his ribs—and tried to reach Yuu. But something, something invisible and strong turned him around until his back was pressed against the floor. It took a hold of his neck and started squeezing. Ruki gasped again, panting, hands clawing at the unseen creature. His legs were kicking, hitting solid surface, but his assaults seemed to go unnoticed by the creature.
On the peripheral of his vision, Ruki could see Yuu approaching again, but again, before he got too close, he bounced off like something had kicked him back. Yuu coughed, holding his chest.
“Ruki!” Yuu screamed. Raw fear was evident in his voice. “Stay away from him, you demon! Don’t hurt him! It’s me you want!”
Ruki would have given a standing applause for Yuu’s valiant oration if he hadn’t been strangled by invisible hands. However, Yuu’s words didn’t seem to affect the situation at all; if anything, the pressure around Ruki’s neck only tightened, cutting off his respiration.
He couldn’t breathe. He was dying, and it hurt so much.
Some people said that when you were dying you would get a glimpse of your entire life abbreviated into a matter of seconds. That’s not what was happening to Ruki, though. Instead, he was looking at Yuu, at how desperate Yuu seemed to reach out to him. He wanted to say thank you, because he had never imagined that one day a famous actor like Yuu, who happened to be a senior he used to know in high school as well, would give so much effort just to save him. He wanted to tell Yuu that he was running out of shampoo, and while he was on the topic, Yuu should go grocery shopping soon. It would be some weird last words before he died, but nothing else came to mind at the moment.
He wanted to tell Yuu, "Hey, just so you know, I kind of admired you a lot in high school. Well, maybe I do too now, but how can I help it when you’re being such a nice guy all the time?"
He figured it would be great if he could tell him that, so he could die without leaving any regret.
Nothing came out of his mouth, though, and when he thought he couldn’t hold it anymore, the world turned bright red—as if someone was switching on a red spotlight and pointed it right into his eyes. A crackling sensation burst through from the back of his mind. Something screamed. Not him, he supposed. Yuu? It didn’t sound like him either.
He blinked. That’s weird.
But before his brain managed to comprehend what was going on, the red quickly melted into black, and very soon darkness engulfed him completely.
- TO BE CONTINUED -
Notes:Previous chapters: 1
HAHA YES CLIFFHANGER I KNOW *gets shot* okay, sorry, um. Well, I dare say the last chapters are moving just fine. If I can push myself to write routinely (and forget about all distractions... Ha. Not likely.) I can probably update soon enough. Anyways, if I write a sequel... uh, no, not exactly a sequel, more like, a new installation(?) of this series, will you guys be interested in reading it? No promises, though. :P
Btw, I've opened an AO3 account. It's quite a convenient place, really (a lot more convenient than here *ahem*). I've only posted PSC there, but if you would like to check it out: here
Fanfic list here