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So. There's a ghost in Kasamatsu's apartment and he's pretty sure of it.

He doesn't really believe in ghosts and the supernatural, and he was never scared by it growing up because he just didn't think it possible - but there really is no other explanation, now.

Either there's a ghost, or his life is being controlled out by puppeteers who move his stuff around with invisible strings almost every minute of the day.

But a ghost isn't so bad, he thinks, spinning his pen in his fingers as he tries to concentrate on his essay. He's glad that his ghost isn't like the evil ghosts in films that strangle people and make them throw themselves into the road or writes messages in blood on the mirror. This ghost just moves things around in his kitchen, plays with his basketball sometimes, and even levitates his bag upstairs into his room when it's particularly heavy.

Of course, when he tried to tell Moriyama, the boy had just looked at him quizzically and Kasamatsu found himself unable to prove the presence of the friendly ghost when he dragged him over to his house. (Maybe the ghost is shy.) Moriyama had been willing to accept it as a one-time thing, though, and didn't ask. Most of the time.

He does want to learn more about the ghost, but he's never really gotten around to attempting to talk to it. Mainly because it was probably stupid, and he wasn't even sure if he would be able to hear the ghost's replies anyway.

(But there were ways that they could be able to communicate, he thinks privately. After all, the ghost could bang around the rooms with his basketball and carry bags. There shouldn't be any reason why it couldn't move a pen on paper and write down what it wants to say.)

But it is a little irritating, not knowing the ghost's gender. It seems a little rude to keep calling the ghost "it". He doesn't know its age, either. Or its name.

If the ghost even remembers his name.

Do ghosts not have genders? Maybe a spirit like this one is just a small consciousness, that genders and age exists only in physical bodies.

Kasamatsu remembers that he's supposed to be writing his essay, and lowers his head, rereading what he's written so far as the sounds of a basketball bouncing off the wall drifts into his room, muffled by the walls.








Kise has been in his "haunting" business for a while. He's lost track of the days, or maybe months and years, which he doesn't really care about, because once you're dead it doesn't really matter how long you've been dead for. He figures that it doesn't really matter counting, because he could easily ghost over to a newsagent's and check the year, then count down the years from his death year.

He still remembers his death, and he remembers the date, and he remembers his name.

He doesn't remember much else. But he's fine with that as well, because remembering things often brought people pain. He reckons that some ghosts must remember their past lives, though, because sometimes when he's wandering around the city to find new places to haunt, he'd see other ghostly figures drifting in doorways or mingling with the crowd with sad, depressing expressions on their faces. (Or maybe that's because they just don't like being dead. Kise is fine with being dead, though. It doesn't hurt, he can go anywhere he wants, he can still touch and move certain things if he concentrates hard enough. The only downside it that it gets more than a little lonely sometimes. He wonders why he has been left behind, stuck between the kingdoms of life and death. Not everyone must become a ghost when they die, because if they did, he's pretty sure there would be several million billion zillion dead ghosts in Japan alone, not taking into account the rest of the planet. There are always more dead people than living ones, because you don't stop being dead but you can stop living.)

Kise doesn't like overthinking things because it makes his brain (do ghosts still have organs?) hurt and depressing thoughts make him sad. So he just enjoys floating through walls and knocking things over, scaring people.

He tries to be nice most the time, but everyone seems to get scared and run away anyway.

Humans have always been scared of things they don't know about, things that they can't explain. Maybe it's because unknown things could potentially kill them, and they want to keep living? But being in a ghostly limbo isn't exactly bad.

Kise tried talking to another of his ghostly allies once. But the man had just looked at him sadly and drifted away, leaving Kise with a slightly upsetting feeling. None of the ghosts want to talk. He doesn't know whether they can talk. He can hear himself when he talks. But maybe nobody else can hear him.

That's also a depressing thought.

Depressing thoughts come so much more easily when you're dead, he thinks glumly, floating upside down in the middle of the street. (It's a trick that he's recently learned, and his early attempts were rather unattractive and didn't work out very well, but he's got the hang of it now.)

Kise had also tried pretending that he was still alive. He feels like he's the same age that he was when he died - he can't remember exactly, but he was about sixteen, seventeen? So he ghosts off to the nearest high school, sits in lessons and tries to learn from the teacher, floats through the canteen during lunch (he can't pick up food and eat it, which is upsetting because he really wants to eat food again), and even during PE, he knocks down the balls that have gotten stuck in trees, speed-ghosts along the running track with the other students, and steals a basketball from the storage cupboard and dribbles around, shooting hoops with a familiarity that must mean that he played basketball before he died. (Every time someone comes in, he has to stop and drop the basketball so that it looks like it had been there for ages. The rumors that the gyms were haunted that started circulating the school after he had been "attending" for a few weeks makes him proud in a way that only a ghost can feel.)

But it never really works.

Being a ghost is fun, but it's a shallow sort of fun when it ends. Kise still feels a little bit empty, and eventually stops drifting to the school gate every morning.

He feels like he's missing something.

He knows he doesn't have many things now that he's dead, but he feels like he's missing something.

Kise takes up haunting an apartment close by to the school (he has gotten attached to the school, he won't deny it) but the residents stream out one after the other every time he interacts with them. It's funny at first, but then gets a little boring and lonely.

Then one day, a week after the previous resident had run screaming from the building and moved away, a dark haired boy with steel-grey eyes and the name of Kasamatsu Yukio moved in.