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 sat with his back against the cushion, eyeing the man in front of him a little warily. He found it odd that, while he was still having second thoughts about the whole plan, Yuu seemed to be perfectly comfortable with the situation. He had a wide smile on his face, and a subtle ease in his movements. And it looked like he had prepared everything, from the food and beverage to the DVD he had picked for them to watch tonight.
Yuu lifted his hand and showed Ruki the cover of the DVD he brought. “I hope you haven’t watched Iron Man 3 yet,” he said, grinning.
As a matter of fact, no, Ruki hadn’t watched that movie. He wasn’t exactly a loyal movie enthusiast, not an avid fan who would be willing to camp overnight just to catch a movie premier either. He usually watched movies from the DVDs he picked at DVD rentals, and his choices were limited to the movies he thought were interesting. He never spent too much time on the internet or reading magazines about movies reviews, so the fastest way to decide was to pick the DVDs that were placed on the ‘Box Office’ rack.
Yuu walked toward his super-big flat screen TV and kneeled in front of it. He put in the DVD into the player, and stood back up. He pointed at the table between himself and Ruki. “Just click play when you’re ready,” he said.
Ruki reached for the remote and did what Yuu told him to do. Soon, the TV screen blinked, and the opening scene of the movie was shown. Yuu approached the sofa where Ruki was sitting, and grabbed the bowl of potato chips from the table before he sat down. What’s left on the table were a couple of mugs, filled with hot chocolate, steaming with white, pleasantly scented vapor.
“Robert Downey, Jr. is one of my favorite actors,” Yuu said as soon as he sat right beside Ruki. He took a handful of chips from the bowl and shoved them into his mouth. His next words came out in a jumble because he was chewing while talking. “You’ve seen the first and second Iron Man, haven’t you?”
Ruki nodded. “I have,” he said. But he didn’t say that if Uruha and Hiroto hadn’t dragged him along, he wouldn’t have bothered going to the movies to watch.
“Cool, huh?” Yuu asked. His eyes were practically twinkling as the movie rolled. “To tell you the truth, I’ve seen this movie during the premier, and once again when I first bought this DVD, but I never get bored of watching it. RDJ—that’s how people abbreviate his name—is a really fascinating person, even in his daily life. I like that he seems snobbish, but he’s actually a great guy.”
Ruki honestly didn’t know anything at all about the main cast of Iron Man, well, no more than what he had accidentally watched on entertainment shows on TV. However, the more Yuu was telling him about the actor, the more compelled he felt to like him. It didn’t seem to matter that he couldn’t even name other movies that RDJ had starred in.
Tony Stark’s dialogue with his mechanical assistant, Jarvis, filled the silence that was left as soon as Yuu stopped talking. Ruki struggled to focus his whole attention at the movie that was playing before his eyes, not at Yuu who was sitting right next to him. He couldn’t help but wonder if the space between Yuu and himself hadn’t shrunk. It felt as if Yuu was plastered to his side, pushing him all the way until he was pressed between Yuu and the armrest on his right side.Calm yourself
, Ruki scolded himself. He had a job to do, and he needed to keep it cool in order to do it. If he wished to call himself a professional, he had to be able to get rid of the discomfort he felt. Even if it meant forcing himself through every bit of accelerated heartbeat, dripping cold sweat, and awkward moment, he would have to deal with it. He would get along with Yuu tonight, because that’s what the plan required him to do.
But if he was to be honest, he had tons of things he wished he could ask Yuu. However, he couldn’t decide where he should start. It would definitely be weird if he began talking about high school days, especially because deep inside he was still having doubts about revealing the fact that he was Yuu’s junior in high school. What was he going to say if Yuu started asking questions? Not that he had anything to hide. It was actually the complete opposite; he had absolutely nothing to talk about. Before he signed in to PSC, his life was very much uninteresting. Boring. Monotone. He wouldn’t have wanted to listen to a story of his younger self even if someone had asked him to.
And not to mention there was still PSC’s rule that forbade its staff to share their personal information to anyone outside the institute…
So then, as casually as he could manage, Ruki reached out and grabbed some chips from the bowl in Yuu’s hands. He bit into one and popped up a question, “Do you have any other favorite actor beside RDJ?”
Yuu tilted his head; he looked like he was contemplating through an entire list of names in his head—which might not be too farfetched. Soon enough, he answered.
“I have lots, actually,” he said. “If you’re talking about Japanese actors or actresses, I personally like Watanabe Ken, Yakusho Koji. Kikuchi Rinko was also quite amazing when she acted as a mute girl in the movie Babel. As for Western actors, I love de Niro. I also like Brad Pitt, but only when he plays in drama movies. Not that I’m telling you that his acting in actions movies is bad, but his talent truly shines when he’s playing with the emotions on his face, not when he’s punching a guy’s face to a pulp. For example, his role as Benjamin Black…”
Pepper Potts babbling on TV became completely ignored while Ruki turned his attention to Yuu and listened to him talking. He didn’t actually know all those names that Yuu had mentioned, except maybe Brad Pitt, but then who didn’t know Brad Pitt these days? Ruki hardly ever noticed the names of the actors and actresses in the movies he had watched. He didn’t have any obvious reason why he should; he had no interest in them, and he certainly wasn’t going to start idolizing them. A complete opposite of Yuu.
“And you? Do you have any favorite actor or actress?”
Yuu’s question startled Ruki a bit, but he quickly regained some senses and answered. “No,” he said. “No one specific.”Actually, I’m a big fan of yours, but there’s no way I can tell you that, right?
“Oh,” Yuu nodded. “So you’re not into movies. What’s your hobby, then?”
Hobby. Ruki had to squeeze his brain a little bit to be able to answer that question. “Umm… does sleeping count as a hobby?”
Yuu laughed. His laughter sounded crisp and warm—which made Ruki think of his favorite caramel-glazed donuts that he usually bought at the bakery near his apartment.
“I suppose it does,” Yuu said, “if that’s how you spend your free time. Sleeping.”
But really, that was truly how he spent his free time. Ruki shrugged. “I feel tired every time I come home from work, so all I’ve got time for is to shower and sleep. I do have more time during the weekends, but I don’t really do anything. If I wasn’t spending my time in bed, sleeping, I would be visiting my parents’ place.”
“Where do your parents live?”
Ruki’s heart suddenly beat twice faster.
“Kanagawa,” he answered after a few nerve-racking milliseconds. “I was born in Kanagawa and lived there until I graduated high school. I moved to Tokyo, went to college, graduated, and worked in a private publisher before I finally enrolled to PSC.”
Yuu set his gaze on him, his eyes unreadable. A small smile tugged the edges of his lips. “Kanagawa, huh…” he murmured, nodding his head. There must be something in his mind and Ruki wasn’t sure it was anything good.
On TV, RDJ was dragging his iron armor in the midst of a field. What was he doing? Ruki had no idea what had happened to him or how far the plot of the movie had gone. It didn’t seem to matter at the moment, not anymore. His thoughts had become too muddled, his nerves tensed, knowing that he had somehow gotten himself stuck in the exact situation he had avoided. If Yuu asked what high school he had gone to…
“I used to live in Kanagawa too,” Yuu spoke softly. He turned his eyes—finally—toward the TV, but Ruki didn’t think his gaze was really fixed on RDJ and his iron armor.
“Kanagawa used to be a quiet place,” Yuu said, “at least the area where I lived in. Shopping centers were scarce, but we had many playgrounds. Every day after school, I and my friends liked to hang out at the field right next to the minimarket to play baseball. There were no houses around the field, so we didn’t have to be afraid someone might hit the ball too hard and break a window.
“We did, however, meet some problems whenever my band needed to practice. There were just the three of us—me on guitar; Jiro, the tall and skinny one, on bass; and Takeyama on drums. We never fixed our minds on a vocalist. That sounds sad, but Takeyama was a stubborn guy. You can never believe the qualities he was asking for from a vocalist… The person had to have a voice like X JAPAN’s Toshi, but with a face of a Johnny’s member. Sounds absurd, considering we were doing covers of B’z and Mr. Children’s songs. Luckily we had never faced too much trouble getting a temporary vocalist every time we had to perform.”
A glimpse of a guy with average height, slightly stout body and a face full of acne marks popped up in Ruki’s mind. Takeyama was not exactly a popular kid in school, but when Ruki was a sophomore, he often saw him in front of class 2-A, right next to Ruki’s class. He had heard rumors about Takeyama, a senior, was dating a girl from the swimming club named Hayashi or something like that, and she was in class 2-A.
“What I meant with problems was, basically, finding a place to practice,” Yuu continued with his story. “There was only one studio in the area, and the studio only had one room and limited amount of instruments. Thanks to Jiro’s super-busy schedule in his soccer club, we could only practice during the weekends. Unfortunately, every single band in the entire area seemed to think the same. Everyone needed the studio during the weekends. You can only imagine how frustrating it was, waiting for our turn to use the studio…”
The sound of explosion blared from the TV. Ruki saw people running around, things on fire. How far had the film gone? Ruki could hardly tell who’s who and what was going on anymore.
Ruki thought about the strategy that he and Kai had discussed over and over again, and wondered if this—unintended nostalgia with Yuu—was meant to be included in it. He remembered what Kai had told him repeatedly. “Bonding, that’s the most important matter!” he said. “You need to make it believable to whoever is watching you that Yuu and you are getting along well.” Ayame’s theory stated the creature was aiming to harm everyone who came too close to Yuu, everyone who took up Yuu’s attention, so this would be the most effective way to draw it out of its hiding. But again, it was just a theory. And Ruki was here to prove whether the theory was really accurate or not.Well. It’s easier said than done.
Maybe if Yuu had been a complete stranger, it would have been easier to do this bonding thing Kai had asked him to do.
In the mean time, Yuu still seemed a bit carried away with the story of his past. It didn’t give Ruki much choice other than drifting along with the stream. Memories of his high school days slowly crept into his head, filling his brain with countless images, both wonderful and embarrassing. Yuu’s voice steered him through the myriads of scenes, deeper and deeper into a past he had left behind.
His eyes wandered to Yuu’s face. Yuu looked like he was daydreaming, his eyes were slightly glazed, and he had an easy, carefree expression all over his face. Obviously high school had been a great part of his life.I wish it was that great for me too
, Ruki thought a bit bitterly. He wished he had done a number of interesting things that he could happily share with someone else.
“Oddly though, we got along so well even though the three of us were so different in terms of personalities,” Yuu said. “The band lasted even until we graduated, although we didn’t get a lot of chances to perform. We never really thought about taking it seriously, and there weren’t too many music events except the ones that the school held.”
Ruki could feel the discomfort growing again inside of him, making him nervous. If only Yuu would change the topic and start talking about something else—anything else that didn’t involve his high school experience or teenage days. Ruki wouldn’t mind if Yuu wanted to go back to talking about his work or about movies. But the longer Yuu talked, the more excited he seemed, and Ruki knew it would be weird if he suddenly offered a different topic to talk about.
“I can never forget my third year at school,” Yuu murmured. “We were asked to participate in the school festival for the second time. We knew it was going to be our last performance in the school festival because we were graduating that year, so we wanted to make it a little bit special. We practiced almost every day, not just during the weekends. If we couldn’t book the studio, then we had to make do in the art room at school or at my house.
“We were pretty lucky to be able to get a sophomore who was willing to sing for us for the event. He was a shy guy, but had an amazing voice. We decided to do four songs, two from B’z, one from Mr. Children, and one from LUNA SEA. We picked the songs that were popular at that time. Jiro and I were backing vocals. The audience was great. Everyone was so excited, and simultaneously that made us even more excited to perform. Even our shy vocalist seemed to find his hidden, inner rockstar spirit.
“Finished with four songs, the audience were clapping and shouting for more. Some girls even threw flowers to the stage. The feeling was so amazing… probably one of the best things I’ve ever felt my entire life. That might be my first experience being a famous person, if I may say so myself.”
Yuu laughed, and Ruki couldn’t stop himself before he laughed along. Just like Yuu said, the memory of that day was unforgettable. Ruki remembered it too. He remembered sitting among the audience, barely blinking from the beginning until the end of Yuu’s performance with his band. Back then he hadn’t even known the songs, hardly ever heard of the bands that originally wrote the songs, but Yuu’s band performed so wonderfully it wasn’t hard for Ruki to enjoy them.
Their laughter gradually slowed down, blending with a dialogue between RDJ and some character Ruki didn’t recognize on TV. He glanced at the screen for a second; clearly their movie night was not going as planned, but looking at the situation, the bonding between them was moving nicely. He didn’t know how he should feel about that, though.
He reached out for the mug on top of the table, the black mug with the ‘I ♥ Bali
’ on the side that belonged to Yuu, and took a sip of his chocolate drink. It was no longer warm anymore, but tasted nice nonetheless. He sipped some more, letting the sweetness fill his mouth and his throat, and then placed the mug back on the table.
The next moment he turned to Yuu, the man was smiling. It was a soft smile, the kind of smile that hardly left the slightest dent on his cheek, but was made vivid by the light that glowed in his eyes. Talking about high school days like this was clearly making him happy. So Ruki knew he had no other choice but to keep his mouth shut and let him continue.
“We were encouraged by the audience’s reaction, so with the permission of the event’s committee, we performed one more song,” Yuu said. “We let the audience decide what song they wanted us to perform. I did feel kind of nervous. What if they ask us to play a song that we’ve never practiced before? Fortunately, though, when I pointed one of the girls who raised their hands, she asked for a rather familiar song. LUNA SEA’s Crazy About You. The funny thing is, that girl wished to dedicate the song to a teacher. Umm… I can’t remember his name. He was like the meanest teacher we had ever had, and he taught Math in my third year…”
Ruki quickly shut his mouth, but he knew it was already too late.
Yuu’s face was beaming as if someone had lit a neon lamp right in front of him. His eyes were wide open, looking at Ruki unblinkingly.
“I knew it!”
Well isn’t this unexpected
, Ruki thought quietly. He had spent so much time worrying about the moment Yuu would find out that he used to be his junior. But now that everything had been revealed, it actually felt ridiculous to worry so much. It was surprising, even, that Yuu looked amused, as if he had guessed it long before Ruki had slipped on mentioning the name of their high school teacher.
“Yes, I kind of did,” Yuu confirmed, grinning. “I’ve been wondering since the day we met at your office. And when you came to do observation here in my apartment, you blurted about me still playing when you saw my guitar. At first I thought you had read it in an interview, but then… I don’t know. I just had this feeling that I had seen you somewhere.”
“You could have mistaken me for somebody else,” Ruki said. He didn’t even know why he was still insisting.
“I could have,” Yuu grinned. “But I didn’t. You probably didn’t know, but I’m still in touch with most of my high school friends. Some of them were my juniors. I contacted one of them, borrowed his yearbook, and, well, I found your photo in it. I’ve got to tell you, you haven’t really changed since then.”
Ruki couldn’t argue anymore. And he didn’t think like he needed to argue or defend himself. He hadn’t told Yuu about his true identity—Yuu had figured most of it himself—so technically speaking he hadn’t broken PSC’s rules. If Kai asked how it had happened, Ruki could tell him that it was all an honest mistake.Yeah right, an honest mistake.
What Ruki dreaded the most was probably the awkwardness that would occur—or at least what he had expected to occur once he was found out by Yuu. But, again, oddly, that’s not what was happening. Half-awed, half-uneasy, he followed along as Yuu delved even deeper in high school nostalgia. If anything, the man seemed even happier to talk about his younger days now that he was sitting with someone who had actually been around back then.
Yuu was reliving each precious moment he had gone through and each memorable person he had met in high school. Starting from the teachers who had taught them, the cafeteria with the awful menus they served, to the kids who got expelled for spreading porno on the internet, Yuu never seemed to get tired of talking. In the mean time, Ruki was nodding his head as if he knew everything and everyone Yuu was talking about. It was baffling and a little bit sad that, even though they went to the same school, Ruki hardly understood half of everything Yuu said. It was like they had come from completely different worlds.
After a few moments, Yuu took a deep breath and finally stopped talking. Quite coincidentally, the movie came to an end as well. Ruki looked at the screen and saw the credit roll, feeling a little bit baffled; he had no idea what had happened throughout the entire movie. He just hoped Yuu wouldn’t be asking about the scenes he had missed.
The ending soundtrack of the movie filled in the silence that was now stretched between Yuu and Ruki. As usual, Ruki’s mind rushed to find something to talk about, but he couldn’t find any appropriate topic. He probably should have commented on something that Yuu had said, something about his high school experience, but then he couldn’t think of anything worth mentioning. Like he pointed before, his high school days were nothing but a sadly boring chapter of his life.There’s no such thing as a comfortable silence
, Ruki thought. Everything would definitely become awkward between two people when nobody’s saying a word.
Moments seemed to tick very, very slowly, but then finally Yuu sighed. He had the same smile that had been decorating his face all night long, and when Ruki turned his gaze at him he saw that, unlike himself, Yuu wasn’t feeling nervous. If anything, he looked elated, and Ruki didn’t understand why.
Yuu put his left arm on the back of the couch, around Ruki’s shoulder.Why. What.
While Ruki’s brain was sputtering incoherencies, Yuu leaned closer. “It’s nice meeting someone from the past, you know,” he said, his voice was gentle. “I wish you would say something earlier, but I guess you had a reason not to.”
“W-well…” Ruki stuttered, “The institute doesn’t allow us to share our private information with our clients, and, umm…”
“I understand, you really don’t have to explain it to me,” Yuu grinned. “But you’ve got to admit, it is pretty funny that you accidentally exposed yourself because of Modoki-sensei. You know, of all things.”
It was in fact very funny. Ruki let out a weak laughter that soon grew into a louder one, Yuu following right after. The two of them guffawed as if someone had been telling them the funniest joke they had ever heard. Their heads knocked against each other, but for some reason Ruki didn’t feel too bothered about the proximity between them now. Maybe it was the laugh, or maybe some unknown miracle; either way, Ruki was grateful. He didn’t know how long this could last, so he cherished all the chance he had.
The left side of Yuu’s head was pressed against the right side of Ruki’s; Ruki was still giggling breathlessly as the beginning of Yuu’s sentence ghosted against his cheek, “I’m really glad they assigned you to—”
Yuu never got to finish his sentence, because at that very moment the world shook.
Well, not the entire world, only the room. Actually, only the couch where Ruki and Yuu were sitting on.
It felt like an elephant—or a very angry creature—was pushing the couch relentlessly, as if trying to force the two guys sitting on it down to the ground. Ruki stood up, forgetting his still mending injury, and dragged Yuu right behind him as fast as he could away from the couch. He tried to remember the outmost border of the kekkai
that Shou and Uruha built, which was between the living room and the kitchen, and dove onto the floor, letting himself roll and crash against the same kitchen table that had broken his bone.
Ruki groaned in pain, but he struggled to open his eyes and check where Yuu was. Relief washed over him when he saw Yuu was close by. It wasn’t until a little while later that he realized—blushing profusely when he did—that Yuu’s hand was on his waist, as if keeping him close and safe.
And now all he could do was pray. Pray so that the plan would succeed, the kekkai
would hold, and no one was going to get hurt again.
He watched with wide eyes as the couch they were just sitting on was being pushed violently until it almost toppled over. The creature was clearly very, very angry. It had probably figured out that it had gotten into a trap. That was making him even angrier and more determined to get to Ruki, in the mean time destroying everything in its path. Cushions were shred, glasses were thrown and broken. The leftover of the potato chips that they had been eating earlier were strewn all over the carpet now. Ruki was grateful he got out of the kekkai
just in time.
The front door opened with a loud bang. Kai, Shou, Uruha, Ayame and Reita rushed in like an avalanche of people, approaching the spot where Ruki and Yuu were practically sprawled on the floor of the kitchen.
It was Reita who made the first noise. He was standing upright just behind Yuu, finger pointing at the circumference of the kekkai
. His eyes were wide with surprise.
“So it’s you!!!”
Previous chapters: 1
- TO BE CONTINUED -
Fanfic list here