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Still Titleless--Ch 2

April 15th, 2007 (09:49 am)

And we now return to the storrrry of...

Chapter 2

*kin kon kan kon...*

The bell signalling the end of the school day could be heard ringing throughout Mai's school. As she slowly packed away her books, her friends Keiko and Michiru came and surrounded her desk.

"Mai, what's with you lately? You've been acting a bit... I don't know... weird." Keiko said looking at her friend a little worried.

Mai looked up surprised. She'd been trying to act like she usually did at school, but apparently she hadn't succeeded in fooling her friends. Mai shook her head slightly. "It's nothing. I'm just a little tired these days," she said with a wan smile.

Michiru grabbed Mai's arm pretending she didn't notice when Mai stiffened at her touch. "I know! Rumour has it that someone's found an old desk in one of the storage areas, and it's supposed to've belonged to a student that committed suicide some time ago. You work for a psychic research office. You should take a look!" she said brightly.

Mai grimaced slightly. "I really don't think I want to think about work at school, right now. Even though I work in a place like that, it's not like I'm all that useful in the investigations... Not to mention, Naru was less than impressed with me last month and let me know in no uncertain terms that I'd apparently forgotten how to do my job properly while he'd been away." Mai had a slight look of distaste on her face at that memory. She'd thought she'd learned a little from Madoka who'd been the acting manager while Naru was away only to discover she'd forgotten other things at the same time.

"Ehhh?! Really? Mai, you're not supposed to slack off like that!" Keiko exclaimed.

"Besides," Mai continued. "How do you even know that it's the desk of someone who committed suicide... assuming someone did in fact do that here?"

"Come on Mai," Michiru said exasperated, "you heard all those stories about the old school building right? There were lots of people who died there including some suicides, right?"

"That's there; this is here." Mai said primly. The old school building is gone. Besides, like I said, how do you know it's that person's desk?"

"Mai," Keiko said looking at her long-time friend resentfully, "you've become a lot less fun about these sorts of things since you started working at that office. Do you know that?"

Mai burst out laughing at her friend's statement. Keiko's voice was virtually dripping with disgust over Mai's more practical attitude towards the supernatural.

Mai thought back. If this were back over a year and a half ago at the beginning of high school, the three of them would've loved to have had this sort of opportunity. She had to admit, actually investigating the paranormal definitely put a damper on the more innocent and clueless activities she and her friends had taken part in before.

"All right, let's go take a look at that desk," Mai said laughing. It'd been a very long time indeed since the three of them had done this sort thing, so she couldn't help feeling a twinge of nostalgia at the idea.


As soon as his classes were over for the day, Yasuhara went straight to his job at the SPR office. When he arrived, he found his boss out in the reception area reading a journal as was often the case when neither Yasuhara nor Mai were around.

Going to his desk, he dropped his things off. "Ah, Shibuya-san, would you like some tea?" he asked. While perhaps not quite as good as his co-worker's, Yasuhara often found himself serving drinks to the other office members as well as the irregulars who dropped by.

"No, I'm fine." Naru said shortly without looking up.

Much to Yasuhara's surprise, his boss showed no signs of returning immediately to his own haven. "Umm, about yesterday..."

"I don't know yet." Naru answered his gaze still firmly fixed on the article he was reading.

"Ehh? You don't know yet?" Yasuhara asked dismayed. "When will you know? There's not that much time before Saturday after all."

Naru looked up from his journal and looked at Yasuhara oddly. "What are you talking about?" he finally asked.

"About what time you'll be closing the office on Saturday, of course." Yasuhara said smiling winningly.

Naru sighed. "If you want to go to the movies with Mai on Saturday, that's your business. Kindly don't expect personal matters to affect business here."

"But Shibuya-san. If the office stays open as late as usual, Taniyama-san will, of course, want to work until it closes. But in that case, while Taniyama-san and I'll be able to catch our movie, when it comes to getting home, either I'd have to leave her at the train station to make her own way home extremely late at night--which I would never consider doing--or I'd see her home and promptly end up being stranded at her place because I'll have missed the last train," Yasuhara said with his glasses glinting suspiciously. "Of course, it wouldn't bother me if I ended up having to spend the night at Taniyama-san's apartment..."

Naru glared slightly at Yasuhara who could feel the office temperature start to dip from his boss' icy demeanor. Unfazed, Yasuhara changed the subject. "Well, we'll leave that issue aside for now. The fact that you went along with things yesterday means that you've also noticed Taniyama-san's unusual behaviour, is that right, Shibuya-san?"

Naru shrugged slightly, "To be honest, I didn't think she was acting all that unusually. She seemed to have the odd moment, but I didn't think them often enough to be a cause for concern. However, your comment yesterday combined with a strange question she asked made me reconsider."

As Yasuhara considered Naru's statement, the door to the records room opened and a tall man came out. Lin paused briefly when he noticed Yasuhara standing in the middle of the office talking to Naru who was still seated in the reception area.

"Ah, Lin-san, hello." Yasuhara said automatically turning to greet his colleague.

Lin nodded slightly to Yasuhara and started towards the front door to the office when Yasuhara called out to him again.

"Lin-san, are you in a hurry right now?" he asked.

Lin turned and looked at Yasuhara. "It can wait if it's important," he replied.

Yasuhara considered briefly before nodding. "We were talking about Taniyama-san's strange behaviour as of late."

Lin looked at Yasuhara steadily for a moment then glanced at Naru. "I haven't noticed her to be acting any differently?" he said quietly.

"Eh? Not at all?" Yasuhara asked surprised.

Lin hesitated slightly before nodding in confirmation. Yasuhara was clearly surprised by his answer and even Naru was looking at him a little oddly. "...Is something wrong with Taniyama-san?"

Naru sighed. "Yasuhara-san mentioned yesterday that she seems to have been acting a bit strange lately and that she's been making some unusual comments--things that she shouldn't know anything about."

"Meaning?" Lin asked quietly, his expression inscrutable.

Naru shrugged.

"If it is psychometry... Taniyama-san did have that dream in Suwa, but..." Yasuhara started to say when Naru interrupted him.

"We already know that her dream then and the one last month at the Agawa residence were both because Gene relayed my vision to her," he said frowning slightly.

However, just as he was about to continue, the front door to the office opened suddenly, and the bell attached to it rang out merrily as a tall brown-haired man entered the office. Takigawa Houshou paused in surprise as he entered the office. He'd clearly come in while the office regulars (minus Mai) were having a serious discussion.

"Ah, sorry. Am I interrupting something?" he asked hesitantly.

Naru looked annoyed at the intrusion. "As always you seem to have a lot of time on your hands," he said coolly.

Following Bou-san, a smaller blonde-haired man entered the office. "It's good to see y'all," John said with a warm and friendly smile.

Naru's frown deepened when he realised that there wasn't just one, but two newcomers. However, he didn't say anything further about the intrusion. Yasuhara in the meantime ushered the two in to take a seat on one of the couches.

"We were just talking about Taniyama-san," Yasuhara explained without preamble. "She's been acting a little strangely lately, so--"

"Has something happened to Mai?!" Bou-san asked interrupted Yasuhara. "I haven't been by at all this past week, so I haven't seen her! Hey, Naru-bou..."

Bou-san's words trailed off as Naru glared him into silence. Naru glanced at John, "What about you, John? Have you noticed anything?"

John shook his head, "I haven't been by of late either. More than a week I believe."

Bou-san raised a hand politely, "Sensei, I'm not sure I follow. What do you mean she's been acting strangely?"

Naru looked annoyed. The constant interruptions meant having to go back and repeat what had already been said. "We're getting to that point. Yasuhara-san, you've noticed it most, so perhaps you should explain."

"Ah, okay. Umm..." Yasuhara hesitated slightly as he gathered his thoughts. "During the past week, it seems that Taniyama-san's been acting a little unusually every now and again. It's nothing major. She seems to freeze or pause for a moment. I didn't really notice it at first, but it kept happening and occasionally she'd say something unusual too. For example, yesterday, when I lent her an eraser, she mentioned that while I hadn't stolen it, I'd done something to get it. The thing is, I'd almost completely forgotten about that incident and there's no way she could have known about it. And before you suggest maybe it's because the item itself was strange, I'll stress the fact that she said 'I didn't steal it.' Why would she think something like that in the first place compared to some other means of acquisition?"

Bou-san ran his hand roughly through his hair and scratched his head. "You mean... she might've done psychometry?"

"That's what I thought, but when we later did a minor test of the idea using Shibuya-san's pen..." Yasuhara paused glancing at Naru.

"There were no signs of anything unusual." Naru said with a slight shrug.

"Maybe it's an on-again, off-again thing," Bou-san suggested after a moment's thought.

Naru nodded. "It's possible, but what's also interesting is that I didn't think much of Mai's behaviour recently, and Lin hasn't noticed anything at all."

"Nothing?" Bou-san asked as he turned to Lin.

Lin nodded. "She didn't seem to be any different from her usual self. ...Although she did seem to be a bit more tired than normal."

"So, either Lin's exceptionally dense to how Mai's doing, or there's a reason why the three of us are noticing things to different degrees," Naru said.

"We were talking about the different visionary dreams Taniyama-san's had since working here," Yasuhara continued. "And we'd only started thinking about the different ones she'd had. Shibuya-san says that the one in Suwa during the Urado case and the one last month at the Agawa residence were both visions of his that had been relayed to Taniyama-san by his brother Gene."

Bou-san frowned slightly. "Other than those..."

"There's the dream she had when she fell into the well at the Morishita home," Lin said quietly. "Did Taniyama-san say anything that might give a clue about the visions themselves?"

Yasuhara shook his head slightly.

Naru looked thoughtful. "She might not be synching very strongly with the person and therefore seeing things as a bystander," he said at last. "She asked about synching and psychometry yesterday, but my answer didn't seem to answer whatever it was that was bothering her."

"When she talked about the dream she had when she fell into the well, it sounded like she was watching everything as an outsider," Lin said slowly thinking back to that scene almost a year and a half ago.

Bou-san started ticking of the different dreams he could remember Mai having while on investigations, "So, what, we have the Morishita case, Urado courtesy of big brother, I think there was something during the Yoshimi case, did she say anything about the school at the lake?, then last month at the Agawa residence again courtesy of big brother. Umm... so really we've got the Morishita case, the Yoshimi case, and maybe that school by the lake. It'd really help if the rest of the girls were here so we could ask them if Mai ever said anything about those cases and any dreams she might've had."

"Um, but those're all dreams, right?" John asked cocking his head to one side. "From what Yasuhara-san's been sayin' it seems more like she's seein' things while awake?"

"Yeah, but Mai's abilities all work when she's half-asleep, right?" Bou-san replied.

"True, except for her sixth sense, her abilities tend to manifest only when she's in a trance," Naru confirmed. "Other than occasionally seeing ghosts, she hasn't shown any other ability while awake."

John looked mildly confused. "But she has, hasn't she?"

"Huh? What're you talking about, John? Everything she's done's always been when she's asleep, right?" Bou-san said.

John gave a slight troubled smile. "But, there's that incident during the Yoshimi case, when we all ran after Kazuyasu-san before he jumped from the cliff. She'd grabbed hold of the fence and then froze for a moment, and when she finally responded to my voice, she said that Kazuyasu-san's the one who pushed Nao-san from the cliff, killed the birds and dogs the family'd been keepin', and that he's the one who'd tampered with the car. How'd she know he'd done those things?"

Bou-san frowned. "......Come to think of it... something like that... might've happened. And she was awake then, too..."

John cocked his head slightly. "My question is, if what she's doing is psychometry..."

However, before he could finish his question, the office phone rang.

*sigh* The large puppy romping about chasing butterflies is making this story a bit... um. Um's a good descriptive word for this. >.>


Posted by: Hybrid Paradox (yunaura)
Posted at: April 15th, 2007 12:51 pm (UTC)

Yasuhara interaction with Naru is always such a great laugh. xD

I have a speculation that the phone call is from Mai's school because Mai somehow got overwhelmed by feelings from the desk. :x

Posted by: LKK (lkk)
Posted at: April 15th, 2007 04:57 pm (UTC)

Would seeing Sakauchi (sp?) being absorbed by the dark spirit count as Mai seeing a vision while she's awake?

One day I'm going to remember how to spell that boy's name. But this is not that day.

Posted by: Shadow (kagedreams)
Posted at: April 17th, 2007 12:12 pm (UTC)

That vision is more on the lines of seeing spirits rather than post-cognitive visions. Basically, I see the two as separate entities even if they potentially have a similar base. ^_^

(BTW, you did spell his name correctly. *laughs* )

Posted by: LKK (lkk)
Posted at: April 18th, 2007 10:44 am (UTC)

Hm, yeah, I would agree with your classification now that I think about it. A spirit sighting rather than a waking vision.

Have all of Mai's dreams been post-cognitive visions? (I know that your story is dealing with Mai having visions while awake versus while asleep. But now you're got me thinking.) Wasn't the dream of Yasuhara and John walking into the room where one of the dark spirits hid actually a real-time vision or even pre-cognitive?

Posted by: Shadow (kagedreams)
Posted at: April 19th, 2007 07:28 pm (UTC)

There've been a number of types of visions. Some seem to be potentially more "real time" when she spirit travels if you will, then there's the post-cognitive ones. The one where Yasu and John were walking towards the print shop struck me as either a spirit vision only with seeing the living as well as the dead, or it could be argued to be a combo with astral travel; either way, it would be current time IMO. I don't think she's shown any truly pre-cognitive abilities though.

Posted by: Kakurenbo (akinarei)
Posted at: April 15th, 2007 05:16 pm (UTC)

Why Lin, you do care!

Loved it, loved it!

I think the only thing that distracted me is the word unusually when you were describing Mai and her recent actions. I don't know if it's because the adverb struck me as strange or out of place-- it's like what you were trying to convey just wasn't...reached? I mean, I know what you were getting at, but it seemed like saying behaving unusually just didn't quite make it. >.<

@_@;; That's just me. Don't mind my rambling, especially when I can't make it coherent. Apparently I haven't had enough caffiene yet. I think I'll go hunt up more coffee, seeing as the tea we have is all decaf. Honestly, decaf tea.

How many butterflies has this big puppy caught so far? =P

Posted by: Shadow (kagedreams)
Posted at: April 17th, 2007 11:43 am (UTC)

How many butterflies has this big puppy caught so far? =P

>.> Too many. This chapter originally *started* with the phone call, but nooooo. Now it's *ended* with it and has... well okay; it needed a lot more background, I'll give it that. (Romping puppy isn't necessarily all bad). ^^; As it is, I have a couple partial scenes that were hacked off of this chapter that might sneak into subsequent chapters or might be extra "stuff" that never sees the light of day. :P

(I'll keep that word issue in mind for when this thing eventually goes up to my site). ^_^

Posted by: Kakurenbo (akinarei)
Posted at: April 17th, 2007 01:00 pm (UTC)

Like I said, the word issue is just me and I can't explain it. Why, oh why did I give up English as my major?

Don't mind my lamenting. Severe caffiene withdrawl going on.

LOL! You could start a butterfly zoo! I have a bunch of scenes from Shades of Lust chapter five that I sheared off. *rolls eyes* Maybe I'll be able to work them in-- but I doubt it. *sigh* such is the world of writing, right?

Nah, puppy romping is good. At least they care enough about gardens to make a God awful mess for us owners, right? ^_~

Posted by: Too cute for evil (ginny_t)
Posted at: April 15th, 2007 08:26 pm (UTC)
I love to romp!

I feel I ought to defend the puppy on principle. *hides*

Bou-san! So cute! So protective. So cowed. *pets*

Posted by: Shadow (kagedreams)
Posted at: April 17th, 2007 11:40 am (UTC)

*laughs* I don't mind romping puppies usually, but this one was quite rambunctious. It kept getting me tied-up in its leash. ^^;;

Posted by: ((Anonymous))
Posted at: April 16th, 2007 02:55 am (UTC)

Hm, how do I say-? Very much enjoying this... *wags finger* "Um" is not a worthy descriptor for this fic! I'd try something more positive, like interesting or amusing. ^_~ (Mm, don't banish the puppy just yet. The pacing doesn't feel off to me; it just leaves me waiting for more. ^_^)

Not on topic, but I was wondering... (If accused of being a linguistics geek, I'll plead guilty.) Certain spellings differ in conventional "American" English and standard British English, (Ex: s/c/z "organization" v. "organisation", o/ou "color" v. "colour") So now I ask, which spellings do Canadians use? I've noticed a tendency toward more "s"s than in American English, but beyond that, I have no idea. Does Canada have its own accepted conventions, or do Canadians use British English spellings? */end linguistics geekiness* Heh, sorry for the random silliness. I'm perhaps a bit too curious about pointless things like this. *whacks self* But there are Canadian regulars here, and I was just itching to ask... So, anyone? >.>


Posted by: Shadow (kagedreams)
Posted at: April 17th, 2007 11:39 am (UTC)

Not on topic, but I was wondering... (If accused of being a linguistics geek, I'll plead guilty.) Certain spellings differ in conventional "American" English and standard British English, (Ex: s/c/z "organization" v. "organisation", o/ou "color" v. "colour") So now I ask, which spellings do Canadians use? I've noticed a tendency toward more "s"s than in American English, but beyond that, I have no idea. Does Canada have its own accepted conventions, or do Canadians use British English spellings? */end linguistics geekiness* Heh, sorry for the random silliness. I'm perhaps a bit too curious about pointless things like this. *whacks self* But there are Canadian regulars here, and I was just itching to ask... So, anyone? >.>

Canadians usually use a mix of British and American spellings more than going one way or another. Over where I am, the most common spellings are 'ou' colour, favour and 're' centre, theatre. I tend to use more British spellings over all, including 's' realise/isation 'oe' foetus, and 'ae' encyclopaedia, but I *will not* use "aluminium". However, I think 'realize', 'fetus', and 'encyclopedia' are the more common spellings here. In terms of being accepted as correct, usually either is acceptable as long as one's consistent in spelling.

Posted by: ((Anonymous))
Posted at: April 18th, 2007 05:45 am (UTC)

*ears perk* Overall very flexible, with maybe some regional differences, huh? Canada isn't one of those countries with a central language authority, then. (Not that I would have expected something so rigid, but it's nice to know.) With Britain and the US hogging the limelight for the English language, I was wondering what Canada was up to. Thanks very much for answering my silliness! I was going a little crazy there. ^_^

Though your answer sparks more curiosity, of course. >.> Back in school, say, a composition class, would teachers have marked down preferred spellings or left them alone? Would a dictionary published by a Canadian university list more variants as acceptable? Would there be "AmE" or "BrE" notations?

Speaking practically, I agree that consistency is most important. And of course, spelling's a minor matter. The widening grammar difference between BrE and AmE is more fascinating- Gah! Geek doesn't cover it, I'm language-obsessed. Forgive my rambling, please. *offers a conciliatory cup of tea* I appreciate you taking the time to answer me - thanks for fueling all my addictions! ^_^


Posted by: Kakurenbo (akinarei)
Posted at: April 18th, 2007 03:20 pm (UTC)

You're a linguistics or English major, aren't you?

Posted by: ((Anonymous))
Posted at: April 18th, 2007 11:13 pm (UTC)

*blushes, ducks head sheepishly* Nothing so grand. I'm an amateur.


Posted by: Miharu (k4gh)
Posted at: April 16th, 2007 05:15 am (UTC)

I love it when Yasu and Naru talk. I don't know why but I do..XD

Posted by: kaorufr (kaorufr)
Posted at: April 16th, 2007 01:54 pm (UTC)

Your fanfic is very good, and i can t wait for the next episode :-)
I can have enough of ghost hunt. why the anime stopped...

Posted by: ((Anonymous))
Posted at: April 16th, 2007 08:41 pm (UTC)

that was a mean place to leave off. which means its really good.

Posted by: kuribayuki (kuribayuki)
Posted at: April 20th, 2007 02:53 pm (UTC)
Al Body

Lovely :D Update soon

and Yasuhara + Naru conversation is awesome XD *NaruMai fangirl side says: *cough*jealous*cough* *

Posted by: ((Anonymous))
Posted at: April 20th, 2007 03:26 pm (UTC)

yay!!!! theres a continuation!!! and I thought itw as gonna end there when naru went to england and it'll be so sad for mai ^____^ I really like yasuhara too, he's so .....bold XD but I still would like to see a maiXnaru pairing very much even though mai is still hung up over gene. T____T hope she and maru get together and have kids ^___^ would really love to see that, but thats not possible is it T____T
but thanks for translating these for us who cant read japanese, I really love it and appreciate it

Posted by: Shadow (kagedreams)
Posted at: April 20th, 2007 06:22 pm (UTC)
Re: ^o^

Umm... just a clarification about this... If you're talking about the comment in passing about Mai having a vision at the Agawa residence, then yes, that's the continuation to the novel series and happens in the final story published by Ono Fuyumi for the Ghost Hunt universe. If you're talking about my FF, that's strictly FF territory. ^^;

Posted by: ((Anonymous))
Posted at: April 20th, 2007 10:32 pm (UTC)

so is this story a fan fic?? so the novel really does end with naru leaving for england and things are left hanging like that???? noooo!!!!!!!!!!!!
*Jumps of a bridge from depression*

Posted by: The integral of Batman from 0 to bat! Bruce Wayne! (derawr)
Posted at: January 3rd, 2008 03:33 pm (UTC)

This fanfic is really interesting. I hope you update soon. :D

I think I can guess where this fic is going...Mai synced a little too strongly with the suicide desk...?

Posted by: ArianaTaniyama (arianataniyama)
Posted at: June 1st, 2008 10:31 pm (UTC)

I've never tried to comment on a post this old, so I'm curious to see if you get it.

I was wondering why this chapter wasn't on your fan fiction website. The prologue and chapter one are, and I was absolutely certain I had read this bit, so to prove to myself I hadn't gone crazy, I had to search for it!

Posted by: Shadow (kagedreams)
Posted at: June 4th, 2008 02:00 am (UTC)

*laughs* Yeah, LJ sends notice for all replies I think. (Or at least I get most replies except for when the reply system goes wonky - which is fairly often actually. ^^; )

I think I wasn't entirely sure about this chapter and how it was heading. It actually went quite differently from how it was originally written out? plotted out? or something. I'd quite forgotten about this one. ^^;

Posted by: ArianaTaniyama (arianataniyama)
Posted at: June 4th, 2008 07:15 pm (UTC)

I think it worked ok as written, but I can see how it could be going one way if the story goes another. Hopefully between translations and your other stories you'll get back to it. I'm interested to see how it changes when it gets to you FF site.

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