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?"
Yuu’s apartment soon turned into a battlefield. Every single furniture and item that had the most unfortunate fate to be inside the kekkai
barriers were torn apart and thrown all over the place. The sofa cushions were ripped to shreds, its cotton fillings drifting down in the air like snow drops. The carpet fibers were pulled from the base, jutting out messily. The mugs no longer looked like mugs now, but pieces of glass; its content, the chocolate drink that Ruki had really enjoyed earlier, was spilled on the carpet, making a huge, ugly brown stain. A random, regretful thought occurred in Ruki’s brain, Yuu’s living room would need a massive renovation once this was all over.
Ruki gritted his teeth, taking in a shaky breath when Kai pulled him back. Kai’s hand was pressing on his injured side, but he swallowed his protests and scuttled away from the kekkai
. Yuu followed right after Kai pulled him back as well. He never took his sight off of the kekkai
while he took his position behind Shou, right next to Ruki.
The most frustrating part about this job was that, people with no gift of sight would find it impossible to see the supernatural sightings, unless the creatures channeled enough energy to let humans see their form. But for people who were born with the gift, like Reita, Uruha, and a number of other staff in the Department, the creatures would appear very clearly, although not as solid as human beings. Ruki himself could be considered a commoner with a lack of ability, someone who wouldn’t be able to see supernatural creatures without the help of spells, or unless the creatures allowed him to see them.
So that’s exactly why at the moment, both Ruki and Yuu could only stare curiously into the kekkai
, wondering who it was that Reita saw. From the way he reacted, it seemed like the culprit was someone familiar. But who… and how could he or she be invisible to Ruki’s eyes?
Ruki leaned against the cabinet under the sink, watching Kai as his boss left his side to approach Reita.
“Do you have any spell that can reveal his form?” Kai asked Reita, to which Reita responded with a nod.
Not waiting for another cue, Reita reached into the postman bag that hung from his shoulder, and then pulled out what seemed to be an ofudo
from a yellow paper with red writings on it. He placed it on the floor, and then mumbled a line of spell. A second later, Ruki could see something appearing inside the kekkai
. At first it only looked like an unrecognizable white smoke, but as soon as Reita finished his spell, it became a lot clearer.
Ruki gasped, but Yuu was the first to say something. His voice indicated his disbelief and anger.
It wasn’t difficult to guess how Yuu felt, and Ruki completely understood why Yuu would be so angry. He was having a hard time believing his own sight. Why would the manager, who was usually very friendly and was never complaining in front of them, do all these horrible things? What could be his reason? And the biggest question: how was it possible that he could appear as a ghost if he was still an alive human being?
Ruki stared cautiously at Kazuki’s face and saw seething rage on his expression. Kazuki’s eyes were wide open, and he was glaring viciously at each of PSC team’s members—especially Ruki. His grayish form stood in the middle of the
, his hands tightly curled in fists at his sides. He was no longer throwing stuff around—and it didn’t seem like there was anything left inside the kekkai for him to throw around—but Ruki could still feel the heat of his rage, radiating through the air, drifting through the kekkai barriers that Shou and Uruha had made. Once again Ruki was thankful for the kekkai that kept him safe from Kaz
uki, otherwise he had no idea what would have happened to him already.
Ayame’s voice broke through the silence that had stretched since Kazuki’s form was made visible. Her face seemed calm, as if she had made her conclusion about the entire case—which, based on Ruki’s experience working with her, might be accurate. It was a wonder how far ahead she could think, Ruki sometimes thought she had a talent for divination that she never told anyone about.
,” said the girl.
“Huh?” Ruki turned to her, confused.
,” Ayame repeated, “is a manifestation of a human spirit that is detached from its physical body. It takes a very enormous supernatural power to be able to separate your spirit from your body without killing yourself, and it takes even more power to cause this level of damage and to injure other people while they are in that spirit form. Moreover, the rituals one must go through to be able to do this kind of thing are so hard, it’s going to need an unimaginably strong mental strength.
“You might not be familiar with the term ikiryō
, or maybe you know it by its Western term, which is Astral Projection. But in AP cases, they mostly appear as sightings or visual disturbances. Ikiryō
, on the other hand, can perform physical interaction… and this is what makes it very dangerous.”
For a moment Ruki was silent, staring admiringly at Ayame. There seemed to be a gigantic library inside the girl’s head, filled with millions of books and scripts, which became the source of all her ideas and analysis.
“Oh, I see!” Uruha exclaimed. His eyes were wide, and Ruki swore he could almost see a light bulb switching on above his head. “Hiroto said he couldn’t see any suspicious auras in this apartment. I understand now why he couldn’t. He actually did see the culprit’s aura, but it didn’t make him suspicious. He would never have thought that the one haunting this apartment was Yuu’s very own manager.”
“None of us would have thought of it,” Ayame said. “It hadn’t occurred to me either until a few days ago when I was in PSC’s Archive Room, checking out some old files. And then I went to see Reita and his uncle to make sure if my presumption was possible. Luckily, Reita’s uncle has enough information regarding this supernatural phenomenon. Ikiryō
is rather unfamiliar in our ears because the institution has only dealt with it five or six times, with the latest case happening thirty years ago.”
“Thirty years ago?” Kai shook his head. “No wonder I’ve never heard of this before.”
All of a sudden there was a muffled scream coming from within the kekkai
. The conversation between the team members was cut short; Ruki turned to see Kazuki’s spirit sitting on the floor inside the kekkai with a pained expression on his face. The part of the kekkai
wall that was close to the spirit was glowing with a purplish blue haze.
Shou shrugged. “Whoops,” he mumbled. “I forgot to tell you that if you touch the kekkai, you’re going to be electrified… regardless if you’re a spirit or a normal human.”
The room went silent; everyone was staring at Shou with sour looks.
Ruki quietly noted in his mind that the next time he had to go on a mission with Shou, he had to make Shou re-read the institute’s rules, especially the ‘prevention of unnecessary violence and injury’ point.
It wasn’t easy to follow Kai’s orders—to stay still like his boss had repeatedly told him to. Ruki knew if he forced himself, his injury would just get worse. His chest felt quite terrible right now; it had been throbbing painfully ever since he crashed against the table earlier. But right now, in this situation they were currently facing, his curiosity felt a lot greater than the worry that his ribs might have been fractured even worse and have become tiny little pieces of bones in his body.
He craned his neck as far as possible, struggling to see what was going on. Half of his sight was blocked by Uruha’s tall figure, but what he could see was already making him frown in confusion.
On the floor, Reita was placing a piece of small, black paper in front of him. The paper had nothing written or drawn on it. Ruki thought it was an ofudo, but where’s the spell? Or was the spell invisible because it was written also in black ink?
Before Ruki could ask out loud, Reita turned to Kai.
“If you don’t mind, can you bring the body in here?” he asked, grinning. “If the spirit is separated for too long from the body, he’s going to be dead… I mean seriously dead.”
Hearing what Reita said, Kai and Uruha hurried out of the apartment, undoubtedly heading toward Kazuki’s apartment. Ruki sighed, grateful that Kazuki’s place was only two floors above Yuu’s. If Kazuki had lived somewhere far away, they would have been dealing with a different problem by now. To be honest, Ruki felt angry, a little vengeful even, after everything that Kazuki had done to him. But he knew death wasn’t a game, and he also knew he would never be able to live with the guilt of letting someone die an unnecessary death.
Once was enough, and even though it had been years since then, the memory of it was still haunting his mind until today.
Ruki was thankful that Kai and Uruha didn’t take too long and showed up before his mind wandered back to that horrible experience. Propped between Kai and Uruha was Kazuki’s body; his feet were dragged across the floor, making a disturbing sight. Yuu’s manager looked like he was dead—well, actually, if you give it a second thought, technically he was dead. His spirit was separated from the body, which made the body lifeless without the ‘motor’ that moved it. Medically, the body was dead.
A shiver ran through Ruki’s spine as he watched Kai and Uruha place Kazuki’s limp body on the floor by Reita’s side. Ruki tried to see if Kazuki’s chest was moving as a sign that he was still breathing—and it was, thankfully, although it didn’t mean that his body was functioning normally. It’s probably like being brain-dead
, Ruki thought. The brain cells would be dying slowly until the body stopped functioning completely. Ruki was not an expert in medical field, but even so, he knew that a human body did not have a very long time to survive when the brain no longer worked.
What happened next was a little difficult for Ruki to understand, so he sat quietly and watched Reita in action. And what Reita did first was to pull out a cutter from his bag. Ruki gasped, staring with wide eyes when Reita pulled Kazuki’s hand to him.
“Sorry, dude, but this is for the good of others,” Reita mumbled before he dug into Kazuki’s palm with the cutter. It didn’t seem like a very deep cut, not that Ruki could see anyway, but the sight of the blood running down Kazuki’s skin still made him feel queasy.
The next thing that Reita did was to dip the tip of his forefinger into the small puddle of blood in Kazuki’s palm. And then, with his blood stained finger, he scribbled a short spell on the black paper that he had taken out previously. Nothing seemed visible, at first. The paper remained as black as it had been, just like Ruki had thought earlier that it would be difficult to write on top of a black paper. But then Reita whispered a line of words—a spell—and the black paper began to radiate with a red glow, as red as Kazuki’s blood.
“Can anyone explain to me what’s going on right now?” Yuu, who had been quite for a while, suddenly asked aloud. When Ruki looked at him, his face looked confused, distraught, and slightly afraid. It was quite obvious that he wasn’t performing an act at the moment.
“This is a spirit-binding spell,” Ayame said. She was standing right behind Reita; the expression on her face was calm, as if she was watching a boring TV show instead of a dangerous, life-threatening supernatural ritual. “This spell is usually used to tie down an evil spirit to an object—a non-living object, that is. Shinto priests are very familiar with this method. They usually do it to restrain or to completely eliminate a supernatural creature’s powers by locking the creature inside of a medium.”
“Just like… what do you call that bridal doll marriage ritual?”
“Yes, you’re right, although it is for a different purpose. It’s called Hanayome Ningyou
, in which they use dolls as the medium. The spirits are drawn from the nature, sometimes a kami. In the ritual, a priest binds the spirit inside a doll, and then he performs the symbolic marriage rituals between the spirit and the soul of the deceased family member.”
Shou interrupted, “I might not very familiar with Shinto rituals, but I’ve never heard of binding a spirit to a living human being… well, uh, technically living, I mean.” He glanced over at Kazuki’s body, as if making sure that there were still signs of him being alive.
This time it was Reita who spoke up. Apparently he had finished reciting his spell. “You shouldn’t do it to humans,” he said. “The risk of doing that is very big, especially if you have no idea what you’re doing. If something goes wrong, you might get an evil spirit dragged into the body that you’re using as a medium. In the cases where you use a non-living object, you can easily solve the problem by destroying the object. But if you’re handling a human body…”
Reita didn’t finish his sentence, but it wasn’t difficult for Ruki to imagine what he meant by it. He swallowed hard, could feel his muscles tensing. He quietly prayed to whatever deities were hovering around them at the moment, hoping that the night would end in a good way.
In the mean time, Reita stopped talking for a moment to rummage in his bag once again and pulled out a few inches of red yarn. He reached for Kazuki’s hand, the one with the bleeding palm, and then he tied the yarn around the hand.
“So, basically, you’ve never done this before?” Kai asked.
Reita looked up and then shook his head. “No, never,” he said. “This is all based on the theories that my uncle explained to me, plus the estimations that Ayame compiled from similar rituals.”
Ruki could see the color draining from Kai’s face, but his senior said nothing else. It wasn’t difficult to imagine what he had in his mind. The possibility of their plan crumbling to pieces was hanging above their heads, like a dark, heavy raincloud that would usually mean an upcoming storm.
He knew that the only thing he could do right now was pray… pray hard.
“Okay, here goes nothing…” Reita said while tying the ends of the yard on Kazuki’s wrist. “Shou, if you would please open the kekkai
Ruki’s heart nearly stopped beating when Reita said that, and when the kekkai
disappeared, his first reflex was to jump as far away as he could. Kazuki’s spirit made a move to attack the group of people, but before it could reach them, a soft red light glowed from Kazuki’s hand. And then, like dust getting sucked into a vacuum cleaner, Kazuki’s spirit flew and drowned into the body.
The next second, Kazuki’s body was thrashing as if he was having a seizure. It seemed to take every ounce of strength that Kai and Uruha had just to hold Kazuki down. In a completely different situation, Ruki would have laughed watching Uruha sitting on Kazuki’s stomach, struggling to keep him still. However, thinking about the situation, all Ruki felt was fear and apprehension. Shou, who had just finished dismantling his kekkai
, almost became a victim of Kazuki’s wildly kicking legs. Thankfully, he had time to take a step back.Lucky Yuu has a big apartment
, Ruki thought. And lucky that the walls were thick enough so that the neighbors couldn’t hear what they were doing inside.
When all of a sudden Kazuki stopped thrashing, there was a thick, sickening silence blanketing all of them. For a second Ruki thought fearfully that the ritual had taken a victim, because when he looked at Kazuki, the man didn’t seem to be breathing. Uruha shuffled off of his position in a hurry; he also looked worried, probably thinking he had accidentally suffocated Kazuki to death. But thankfully, Kazuki’s chest began to move rhythmically up and down, and the sound of his breath could be heard.
A few minutes passed, and all of a sudden Yuu spoke up. “Uh… do I need to find myself a new manager?”
It was 4 a.m. and Ruki was wondering whether the pain that seemed to be coming from every part of his body would ever ease up on him. He had thought that he would fall asleep the instant he hit the bed, but so far he was still wide awake. He was tired as hell, but his mind refused to let him sleep. His brain insisted to keep replaying the scenes from everything that had happened today, starting from the morning he had just woken up to the moment Kai and everyone else left Yuu’s apartment.
The silence in the apartment felt so out of place after all the commotion they had gone through. It was like someone had turned off the radio and pulled down the blinds, and all of a sudden Ruki was transported into a completely different world.
The pillow under his head felt uncomfortable, so he shifted from his position a little. He promptly hissed. The side of his chest that was injured—twice, actually—throbbed excruciatingly, sending sparks of pain to his other body parts.
“Hey, are you okay?!”
Ruki felt the bed underneath him creak as Yuu approached him. He tried not to feel so self-conscious about his current condition (he must have looked totally messy and badly bruised), and swallowed his growing nervousness down. His chest was already painful enough without his heart hammering against his ribs from within.
“I’m good,” Ruki answered. He probably needed to pay the doctor a visit in the morning, and most likely he would be required to spend some more days in the hospital, but at the moment he didn’t want to think about that. “Just a little sore. Are you okay yourself?”
Yuu nodded. “I’m fine. I wasn’t the one who got thrown against a table,” he said good-humoredly. “But I have been wondering about what Kai told you…”
The heavy tone with which Yuu spoke reminded Ruki of the phone call from Kai that ended not an hour ago. Kai’s team had arrived at the hospital, and they had had Kazuki checked in. Kai said there was no worrying diagnosis; the doctor said Kazuki had just fainted from over-exhaustion. An overnight monitor was needed, but Kai confirmed that there would be no permanent injury, and that he would be free to leave the hospital in the morning.
However, that’s not what Yuu meant.
At the end of the conversation that Ruki had with Kai earlier, Kai had told him that there would be several possibilities that they could do about the situation. Sure, the ritual was successful and Kazuki’s soul was already tied to his body, but the ritual did not eliminate Kazuki’s ability. There was still the possibility that once Kazuki woke up and was fully aware of what had happened, he could find some way to free his spirit and practice his extraordinary talent again.
There were some solutions to this predicament, Kai had informed him. The first was to destroy Kazuki’s powers. A long and complicated ritual was needed to do that, and the one to perform this ritual had to be a highly skilled person, someone with an extensive amount of experience. The consequences would be horrible if the ritual failed—in some cases it even took human lives. Second option would probably be safer, but no less complicated. They could talk to Kazuki and persuade him to stay away from Yuu, or at least to convince him that he shouldn’t think of a second attempt of what he had failed to do. Even before they gave this option a try, Ruki knew it would never work. If anything, they would just be fueling Kazuki’s grudge.
And then, there was the third and, if Ruki may say so himself, a little bit controversial option. Controversial, because it required manipulating someone’s mind. The one who had brought up the idea, as expected, was Ayame. She believed that the safest way to solve this problem was hypnosis. It wouldn’t be anything drastic, she said. They didn’t need to erase all of his memories—that would only create new problems—but only some parts that reminded him of his ability and his feelings for Yuu. Ruki personally thought that this was a breach of human rights, but when Ayame asked him if he had other possible way out, he couldn’t say anything.
“What he doesn’t know won’t hurt him,” Ayame said. “Plus, if you think about it, we’re only helping him in becoming more professional. He can’t be a good manager if he can’t separate his personal problems from his work.”
Ruki couldn’t deny the truth in Ayame’s opinion. Furthermore, it seemed like the safest possible solution compared to the other options. Providing the person they got to do the process was qualified, everyone, including Kazuki, would walk out of this whole ordeal with a smile on their faces.
“Convince me again that I took the right decision,” Yuu said. “I don’t want to wake up tomorrow morning thinking I have ruined someone’s life permanently.”
Ruki took a careful look at Yuu. The man looked genuinely worried. Ruki couldn’t blame him; despite everything awful that Kazuki had done to him, he had been a great manager and an arguably good friend.
“No, you’re not ruining anyone’s life, Yuu,” Ruki told him. “I’ve already told you, we are not going to completely erase his memories. We won’t be changing who he really is. In a way, we are improving him as a person… I mean, think about it, without his obsession of you, he would make an excellent manager. And you wouldn’t have to be worried anymore about what bad thing he could possibly do to you.” And then, almost as an afterthought, he added, “Well, unless you don’t want him to forget…”
Yuu shook his head, well, as much as he could do while lying down against the pillows. “I do want the best solution there is, and I can understand that the other options are just too risky to take,” he said. “I was just thinking… Will there be any side effects? Will his memories resurface one day? I might be worrying too much, but I can’t help it.”
Ruki could feel the two sides inside his brain arguing against one another. The first, his professional side, agreed wholeheartedly with Ayame’s suggestion. This side insisted that the sooner they worked on the solution, the better. He could go home and finally find some peace of mind. He missed his quiet apartment, his celebrity-free life, his ghoul-free bathtub. But then there was a different side of him that was insistently making him feel reluctant to end this case too soon. It was telling him that he would be sorry to leave this place. Who could tell that he would get a second chance of meeting Yuu? It already felt like a dream now; it seemed like, if he walked out of this, everything would just vanish into thin air. None of this would feel like a real memory, and the thought of that depressed him.
But, then again, who was he to expect so much out of this? He had known from the start that Yuu was just a client. He had been prepared to accept the fact that he would remain unknown until the job’s done. However, Yuu had remembered him, and nothing else in this world could have been more shocking than that.
He really couldn’t help but feel a little bit hopeful.
He should talk to Yuu… Or maybe he should just get some sleep.
It was probably just a couple more hours to sunrise. He had been up all day long, got smashed against a bunch of furniture, and faced one of the most extravagant supernatural rituals he had ever witnessed throughout his life as an employee in PSC. His body was battered and bruised, and his mind was probably not working as well as it should. Maybe, if he could get some shuteye, he would wake up a few hours later feeling more refreshed and—hopefully—much saner.
Tomorrow morning, all of this would be like a dream, and in time, everything would cease to exist. This would just be another case in one of his folders, and Yuu would just be one of the names in his list of former clients.
Something inside his chest throbbed with pain, and he knew it wasn’t his injured rib.
Just when Ruki started to drift off to an unknown dreamland, Yuu’s voice roused him awake again.
“Hey, when this is all over, do you want to hang out with me again sometimes?” he spoke softly. “Well, that is if your institute doesn’t have anything against an employee hanging around with an ex client…”
Ruki turned his head to the side, gaping like a fish.
“And—and if you don’t mind,” Yuu hurriedly added. “I mean… It’s really nice meeting you. You’ve been such a great company in my otherwise deserted—and uh, kind of haunted—apartment. And it’s a pleasant surprise that you came from the same hometown and high school. If I could have a chance to catch up… that would be really great.”
Ruki didn’t know how long he was gaping at Yuu, but it must have become a little bit awkward because Yuu began to look sheepish.
“Sorry, that must have sounded so weird, like I was asking you out on a date or something…”
“No, no!” Ruki sat up—a little too quickly, and regretted it instantly, because his side throbbed angrily. He ignored the pain and propped himself against the head of the bed. “It’s not weird! And I don’t mind, really. Actually I would be… I would be delighted to hang out with you.”
Deep inside Ruki’s chest, his heart was beating madly. Yuu smiled; looking at him, Ruki believed it wouldn’t have even mattered if he had gotten a heart attack. And regarding the rules of the institute, he thought, to hell with them. He knew he would regret it for the rest of his life if he dared to reject this chance.
When Ruki leaned back down onto his pillow, he could almost hear Kai speaking to him.
“Don’t be so uptight,” he would have said with a hint of laughter in his voice. “It’s funny that I’m telling you this, you know, me being your superior. But you have always been the prudish one, the one who is constantly worried about the rules. You should lighten up—forget the rules for a moment, call up some friends, have some fun. The living needs more of your time than the dead. Remember that.”
The grayish light of dawn oozed through the curtains, signaling the coming of a new day. Ruki closed his eyes, letting the gravity of his fatigue pull him down into a long-awaited sleep. His mind blurred into one single thought.It's maybe safe to say now that case is closed.
- THE END -
Well. Final chapter (and it took ages, I know, sorry). The story has been quite some fun to write, and although I did experience a lot of difficulties in managing my time, I'm glad I finished it. However, I can't promise that I will write anything new in the future, well, in terms of fanfiction, at least. I'm sorry if I have said something about a second PSC series; that might not happen, not in the near future. Maybe my interest in writing has taken a different turn, maybe I need a long vacation from fanfiction world. It's just that, there's little or nearly no space left in my current life for this anymore. Well, I am still eager to write, but the project I have at hand has nothing to do with fanfictions and you will probably never see it posted here.
Thank you so much for all of your attention so far. Your comments and criticism were the things that unceasingly motivated me to continue. The fandom, thank you for the entertainment, and please stay strong. The other writers, do your best.
This is アキ, signing off.Previous chapters: 1
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