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The Gemini Manor: Threnody

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                                                                                  The brunet’s body that he held in his arms shook, blood tainted both from their shirts down to their skin. Saga still shook in fear, not from the ghost but from the fear of never being able to see his own twin ever again.

Tora tried to calm him down. A hug at the moment may not have been the most comforting thing he can give to the other, but what else could Tora do? He needed to stop Saga from banging his hands against the mirror.

Saga looked as though he would do just about anything now, without so much as thinking about the action. He couldn’t let his friend do this to himself. He couldn’t let Saga destroy himself over this… Even if this was an evil entity that took your own sibling away from you.

“Saga, Saga. Calm down. You need to calm down.” He tried to restrain the other.

“No! Let go of me, Tora. Let go of me!” He cried, looking back at the mirror and nowhere else but, the mirror.

He saw it, he saw that monster took away his Nao.

By the time Saga had come back from his senses, he was the one whom was handing his brother’s own unconscious body to the ghost. His brother, weak and pale was somehow being dragged inside the mirror of the library.  His hands had gripped tightly onto Nao, pulling him away from the unknown.

But it was too late already. Nao’s body was already halfway through the mirror and no matter how much Saga tugged and pulled his brother back, the entity was too strong and took all of Nao for itself. And that’s how he came to his current predicament, punching and pushing his own self into the mirror just so he could go inside and bring Nao back.

Saga didn’t care whether or not he would come out with his brother alive.

All that mattered was Nao and that he was safe.

“I can’t… I can’t let them take him, Tora… I can’t. We have to save him.” He pleaded to the raven-headed friend, with tears continually streaming down his face as the guilt and pain were crushing him on the inside. “This can’t be happening, this can’t be happening.”

“We’ll get him, Saga. But, we need to take care of your wounds first.” Tora reminded him as he grabbed a hold of one of Saga’s hands then, made the brunet look over to his bloodied limbs. “Saga, you can’t help Nao if you can’t even help yourself first.” He told him and Tora tried his damndest to not panic like Saga.

This was no time for panicking and not thinking straight. Any moment right now, the entities of this house could very well attack all of a sudden and they’re both inside one of the most famously gruesome rooms of the mansion. They needed to get out fast, and preferably -although regrettably- they needed to get out of the house first before trying to save Nao.

God, Tora hopes they can at least do the first one.

He picks Saga up, the adrenaline pumping through his veins happily making Tora think that Saga is as light as a feather as he rests the other’s arm on his shoulder and proceeded to walk themselves out of the room.

The hallway felt ominous and dark, as though something was just lurking in the shadows waiting for the duo to just run past them for the entities to devour them whole. Tora put up a brave front, never ceasing to look from side to side and even looking back just to make sure that nothing would come up to them in surprise and bring forth an even difficult predicament..

An even more difficult predicament would be one of them being captured by the darkness and the other being left to go out of the house without any help from anyone and looking like a complete lunatic to civilians outside.

“No, Tora. Tora no, I don’t want to leave.” Saga struggled once they were close to the door.

“Shut up.” Tora hissed out, keeping the brunet close to him.

Even when out of the house, Tora kept his guard up and shoved Saga inside his car then, drove away from the mansion. Even Saga’s incessant wailing and pleas to go back couldn’t make Tora change his mind.

And fuck, did he himself want to go back to get Nao himself.

“What’s Byou’s surname?” Tora inquired as he drove.

“Wha-what?” Saga was almost half-dazed, between fainting and wanting to scream out for Nao. Why? Why had he let Tora leave Nao all alone in that mansion? This was not happening to him, if Saga wasn’t being too confused with pain he wouldn’t mind punching the daylights out of Tora… But alas, he was too weak and confused by his surroundings to comprehend everything in a fast pace.

“Byou! That nurse from Jujikukan! What’s his surname!” The raven shouted in ire, his teeth gritting together in an act of trying to keep himself calm.

“Kojima, why do you want to know?! This is no time for hospitals, Tora!”

They headed to Jujikukan Hospital, but only with Tora entering as he left behind a screaming Saga in the car. He grabbed a clean jacket to hide his blood-stained shirt before going to the front desk and inquiring quickly. “Is Kojima Byou on duty?”

“Are you family?” The lady in the front desk asked with an arched brow.

“We have a mutual friend and I wanted to ask him for some help. I was here a couple of days ago with a patient named Murai Naoyuki.” Tora explained.

 “Murai…” And as she checked their database, as if the gods have finally blessed them with some good luck, Byou passed by.

“Byou!” Tora grabbed the other and in response, Byou quickly pulled his hand away in shock.

It was probably not the best idea to grab a hold of the other when they barely even know each other.

“Do I know you?!” The blond said harshly.

“Sorry, sorry.” Tora tried to apologize.

“Should I call security, Byou?” The front desk lady asked.

“No please,” Tora pleaded. “It’s me, Ogata Tora, I was with Saga and Nao the other day.”

Byou squinted his eyes, looking at Tora properly before realizing that he did recognize the raven hair. “Oh yeah, I saw you before.” The blond looked to the desk lady and said. “No need, I apparently know this guy.”

“You better.” She replied with a stern look to both men before sitting back down.

“What do you need man?” Byou inquired to the other.

“I need your help.” Tora said in a hushed tone, leaning in close to Byou. “Me and Saga need your help. Can you come outside please?”

Byou arched an inquisitive brow. “Okay?” He answered back unsure but, followed the other anyways.

When they got to Tora’s car, Saga had seemed to stop shouting—

“Tora!” Nevermind, he didn’t.

“Is that Saga?!” Byou was quick to run to the car to see his friend bloodied.

“We need your help.” Tora quickly opened the car door and the instant Saga saw Byou, he scooted away.

“No, Tora! Fuck you! I said we don’t need any help!”

“I can see why you need my help now.” Byou told the raven. “What happened, Saga? Where’s Nao?”

At the mention of Nao, both men went silent and tears began to fall from the brunet’s eyes once more. “The mansion…”

“The what?”

“The mansion… The mansion took Nao…” Saga sobbed as his whole-body trembled from the loss of blood and his turbulent emotions. “We have to get him back, we have to get him back.”

“Is there any place other than, the hospital that we can get him cleaned up?” Tora asked. “If we get the police involved, they might start to think we’re both mental and I know you know about my mansion.”

“You own the Gemini Manor?” Byou’s eyes widened in fear.

“Please. He’s losing blood.” Tora tried to get Byou back on the more dire topic at hand.

“We need to get him inside the hospital first, to ER!” The blond told the duo.

“No! No hospital! I need to get to Nao!” Saga shouted as he tried to knock his entire body against the car door. “Nao!”

“Byou! You either help us now or Saga will die!” Tora desperately pleaded.

“Taking him to ER will be better than, me just patching him up!” Byou argued as he tried to stop Saga from worsening his wounds, but he was afraid of touching his cuts.

“The hospital will kill me! Byou, do something!” Saga shouted to Byou as they looked into each other’s eyes.

The blond growled, obviously not liking their predicament. He turned to Tora, “Give me the keys, we’re going to my house.”

Tora gave the car keys to Byou and the raven sat in the backseat with Saga to try and calm him down on the way.

The drive to Byou’s apartment was quick. Both men helped Saga up to the place, who was now too weak to struggle and just ended up crying on them both. Byou reached on top of the apartment’s door to get the spare key he kept and let his guests enter first, Byou quickly locked the door behind them.

“Byou, you’re home—OH MY GOD!” Another blond headed male came to the living room and screamed at the sight of two bloodied men entering his house.

“Jin!” Byou quickly ran to his boyfriend’s side, trying to calm him down. “Relax, relax. These are my friends, I just need to help them.”

“Jesus Christ, Byou! You could’ve at least given me a heads up!” Jin tried to keep his breathing down before walking away. “I’ll get the first aid kit.” He continued off, not really one to be able to keep looking at blood for long periods of time.

Byou turned to the duo, leading them to sit down on the couch. “Here, sit down. Let me take a look at the wounds.”

Saga showed both of his hands to Byou and the blond could only frown deeply at them. From his hands to his arms, the fresh cuts were deep enough that he could still see something sharp wedged in his flesh.  “Is that glass?” Byou inquired, looking both at the Tora and Saga. “What the fuck did you both do?!”

“Here, I got everything. What else do you need?” Jin quickly came back with towels and the first aid kit. He had to quickly turn his head to the side so as not to see Saga’s wounds.

“He punched the glass mirror at my house.” Tora sufficed.

“Well, why the fuck did you punch it, Saga?” Byou exasperated as he took the scissors from the kit and proceeded to cut Saga’s shirt off of him.

“It’s the ghosts.” He sobbed, voice weak and low. “They took Nao.”

“Did he just say ghosts?” Jin blurted out flabbergasted, accidentally turning his head to Saga’s direction and gasping in regret as he closed his eyes tight; that was definitely going to haunt him in his dreams

“Jin, I’m gonna need you to get a bowl of hot water, get the bathroom ready for when we move there, take the kit there too.” He ordered, throwing Saga’s shirt on the floor before looking at Tora and getting the gauze. “You’re going to help me clean him up, because Jin can’t for the life of him look at blood without fainting.”

Tora gulped before nodding listening carefully to every single word coming from Byou.

Byou first took out the small piece of glass he saw on Saga’s skin. He was rather thankful that it was away from the brunet’s wrist and veins. Once the shard has been removed, Saga started to bleed more. He had instructed Tora to apply pressure on one of Saga’s arms to stop the bleeding whilst Byou did the same to the other one.

After a few minutes, the bleeding from Tora’s end stopped. “You sure it stopped?” Byou inquired as he glanced at the arm. “Let’s move him to the bathroom now.” He said to Tora before turning to look to his brother and saying in a gentle voice. “Saga, we’re going to help you up to the bathroom, so I can clean your wound alright?”

The brunet could only nod and follow Byou’s instructions. He was feeling light-headed. The brunet couldn’t decipher anything anymore aside from the pain in his arms. Damn it, the pain was too much and Saga just wished he could sleep it away… But no, he couldn’t—he wouldn’t  sleep because he knows there’s something that he needs to do first. ‘I need to find Nao.’ Was the only thing other than, pain that was circulating through his head that was the only reason the brunet had been staying awake the whole time.

Byou counted from one to three before they hoisted Saga up and led him to the bathroom. In the room, Tora was told to hold Saga’s arm under running water. They had to place themselves inside the shower as Byou gave another gauze to Tora for him to clean up the wound.

Byou on the other hand grabbed the elastic band from the first aid kit and tied a knot above Saga’s cuts. “Come on, stop bleeding, stop bleeding.” He muttered under his breath as Byou elevated the brunet’s arm and applied more pressure onto it. This was his last hope in making Saga’s wound stop from bleeding, if this fails he’ll have regretted taking the duo into their house because the chances of Saga bleeding to death if this doesn’t do it would be high.

“Make sure there’s no dirt or any glass in his cuts.” Byou instructed Tora who was still cleaning the wounds and was soaking wet inside the shower.

“I’m done, I’m done. What’s next?” Tora asked in slight panic; even when the bleeding had stopped and Saga’s wounds seemed to be less serious than, earlier thanks to getting rid of the blood he was hoping he was doing at least a good job in cleaning the wounds. The raven inspected every cut, every wound, and even the smallest parts of anywhere he could see in Saga’s arm He wasn’t going to allow his friend to die on his watch.

“Turn off the shower then, put ointment on them.” The blond gestured for Tora to bring him the kit, he took out which ointment to use and gave it to Tora. “Here use this. Apply some of it onto the gauze then, clean the cuts.”

“Nao,” Saga pleaded to the duo, “after this we’ll go to Nao please.” He didn’t know why but, Saga just knew he had to get Nao as soon as possible. There was dread creeping in the pits of his stomach, a seemingly unseen unknown is creeping in.

“Shut up.” Tora scolded the other; he did not need to worry about one more thing.

As instructed, Tora did his task cleaning the wounds Whilst accidentally using too much gauze that had Byou cursing once again. Not only did he have to take care of Saga’s wound that was bleeding incessantly but now, he also had to instruct Tora, someone who basically knew next to nothing about first aid to fucking stop wasting materials! “Jin!” He called out to his boyfriend again, all of this trouble was giving him a headache, no one in this room knew what the hell to do aside from him.

“What? What happened?” Jin answered, standing on the doorway too afraid to watch what Byou was doing.

“Find more gauze!” He shouted and the other quickly scurried away for the said item.

After Tora finished cleaning the wound, Byou assessed the arm he was holding and to his relief it had stopped bleeding. “Quick, switch with me.” He told Tora and now Byou was under the showers as he turned it on. He grabbed the remaining gauze in the kit as he started cleaning the wound. It was long and deep and Byou could see the fats underneath the skin as he cleaned it.

There was another small glass that he had extracted from Saga’s arm and it bled a bit for a while, thankfully not ending in applying too much pressure again as Byou scanned the laceration and decided that he needed to stitch it up.

Slowly, Saga felt himself losing consciousness. He fought against it, fought tooth and nail that he not be taken into the darkness of his unconsciousness—

Byou removed the elastic band from the brunet gaining Saga’s attention for a split second, he instructed Saga to sit down as Byou took silk thread from the kit and placed it inside the bowl of hot water. “Jin, get me a lighter!”

Another sound of hurried running that faded into the background as Byou set about to cleaning the cut.

With gauze in his hand, Byou poured the antiseptic into it and began disinfecting the wound. He started with the big one that laid just only a few centimeters away from the wrist, going down nearly to his elbow. Byou was somewhat glad that the wound didn’t come as deep as to the bone, but it was still nasty by the way the laceration was gaping open and with a piece of Saga’s skin hanging thinly onto him. “This is gonna hurt.” He said as a warning, as he took the scissors from the kit. He tugged on the skin, seeing if he could just pull it. Saga screamed out in pain and quickly, Byou cut the skin that may or may not have a piece of Saga hanging onto it as well.

He took his needle then, heated it up with the lighter that Jin left nearby so as not to disturb him or Tora whilst they worked. Afterwards, the silk thread was attached to the needle and he prepared his materials before, going back to business.

Byou steadied himself, eyeing the long cut on Saga’s arm as he inhaled deeply. “Bear with me alright?” He said before pushing the needle to Saga’s skin sewing him up. The brunet shook at the pain and another painful scream escaping his throat as Tora had to hold the other to restrain him.

‘Fuck, fuck, fuck!’ Were the words that ran repeatedly on Saga’s head and although he glared at Byou at the pain, it did it’s job in suddenly alerting him and keeping him awake. He was this close to losing it earlier.

“Ah fuck, the ibuprofen!” Byou cursed once more before looking to Tora and saying: “Make him take the ibuprofen—”

And as Byou was instructing Tora, Saga suddenly hurled at the raven… Byou was just thankful Saga didn’t barf his way or else he’d have to clean the wound again.

“Seriously Saga?!” Tora shouted in exasperation, he did not need this right now. But he tried to control his anger, tried to keep in his cool. Tora took in deep breaths, he  needed to be understanding right now… Even if he had a feeling Saga was slightly smirking at the fact that he had just puked at Tora.

“Jin, get me a bottle of water!” Byou ordered.

Tora had to clean Saga up in order to make sure his wound didn’t get dirty again before they proceeded. With the Ibuprofen taken, Byou waited for at least five minutes for the medicine to kick in. He looked up to Saga, the man looking weak and pale. “I’ll start sewing you up alright?”

Saga could only give a nod as he looked as though he was falling asleep with Tora supporting him from the back. Byou lightly slapped his cheek, getting Saga’s attention again. “Hey, don’t fall asleep on me. I need you awake alright?”

“Okay.” Saga answered. It felt important in that moment when Byou told him to stay awake and so, Saga tried harder, his hardest for Nao. He needed to stay awake not just for Nao now.

“Tora, watch him.” Byou said as he went back to work in sewing Saga’s skin back together.

It took him almost 20 minutes to finish stitching up the entire cut.

Once the last stitch had been finished, Byou finally let himself slump down on the floor, resting his back against the wall. “Jin,” Byou called out one last time to his boyfriend.

“Yeah?” Jin sneaked a peak at them; he had been waiting outside the door waiting for Byou’s every instruction. He couldn’t very well let a man die inside their new apartment, let alone one of Byou’s friends. And so, the blond had been waiting patiently for his boyfriends every request the entire time.

“Can you get us some clothes? We’ll need to change.” He said and was replied with an ókay.’ By the other before he looked to the duo and said. “You guys get to the living room and change. I’ll clean up here first.” He instructed as both Saga and Tora went to living room to change.

Byou sighed heavily after cleaning the bathroom; he slumped down on the living room couch looking to the wall clock. It had been almost 4 hours, from the time he met up with Tora to them ending up in his place doing suture stitches to Saga’s arm and patching up the other with gauze. He was bone dead tired.

“Here, I made tea for everyone.” Jin offered, being able to at least stomach down the mess and now Saga, who wasn’t entirely covered in his own blood anymore.

“Thank you.” Tora accepted the drink graciously, looking over to Saga who was now sleeping on the couch. The brunet had endured enough, from hurting himself just to ‘save’ Nao, down to keeping awake from the whole duration of stitching his wounds up. Some rest would do him good.

“As much as we need to rest, I think we now deserve an explanation.” Byou spoke up as he looked over to Tora. He readjusted himself, sitting up straight so he could face the raven-haired man. Byou stretched an arm so he could tell his lover to move away, preferably away from Tora and Saga, who knows what could happen even if he helped the duo out.

“Normally, I would tell people to go to the ER with this kind of cases. This really wasn’t a one-man job but, we had no choice. It was probably due to the shock of seeing Saga in this state, the hysteria he was in, or maybe it was the fact that days ago I knew he moved in to the Gemini Manor.” Byou explained, his voice cold and calculating down the facts to Tora. “So, forgive me if I want some explanation on why the heck you allowed the twins inside a mansion you own and you know kills them.”

Tora lowered his head, letting his head rest of his palms them as he hid himself. “I tried, I really tried to get him out but, I couldn’t. And I didn’t know who to ask for help, and you were the closest.”

“What happened to Nao?”

“Saga said the ghosts took him.”

“Sorry to say this, but guys, you all sound like some fucking whack jobs right now.” Jin interrupts as he decides to put his foot down in the midst of all this confession. “Do you really think we’d believe you when you say that a ghost took someone, and it was that ghost’s fault that Saga punched a mirror?”

“No… I was hoping at least Byou would consider it.” Tora admitted, turning to the blond.

Byou looked skeptical, his eyes boring into Tora as though he could find all the answers itself on the appearance of the male itself.

“It was the ghost from Gemini Manor, wasn’t it?” Was Byou’s reply.

There was a simultaneous answer of “Yes.” And “What the fuck?” That was directed to Byou.

“You can’t be serious, Byou, are you believing—”

“Jin. I would really appreciate it if you would listen first to what Tora has to say.” Byou cut him off, not even bothering to spare a glance at his boyfriend; making the younger blond grumble in response and sit himself down on a chair whilst crossing his arms, “Please, continue.”

“As you already know Byou-kun, I own the Gemini Manor.” Tora started, trying to get comfortable in his seat because this was going to be one hell of a long conversation. “I swear to you, I tried to get Saga to get away from the mansion, as well as Nao but, I couldn’t. There was something weird going on with Saga.”

“How did he get the wounds exactly?”

“He was screaming on and on that the ghosts took Nao into the Mirror. But, that was before…” Tora gulped, clearing his throat before continuing. “Yours and Saga’s mother showed up.” He said, sounding even more unbelievable when they had first started.

“Okay, I’m calling bullshit.” Jin threw his hands up and stood up.

“Babe, for the last time. I really need you to cooperate here.” Byou tiredly tried to coax his lover to calm down and listen some more.

“He just said you and Saga were siblings!” Jin once again threw his arms up in the air as if to prove his point but, this time into the direction of Tora. “You can’t possibly believe this lunatic, BABE.

Byou sighs, gesturing for his lover to come close to him so Jin would sit down next to Byou. Albeit, the two of them squishing themselves to sit on one lone chair together, but it did its effect of calming Jin down. “I’m surprised Mom did that. I told her to let me handle it. But, I guess it was a better option since it got you guys out of the house fast.”

At Byou’s words, everyone sputtered in surprise.

“You know?!” Tora was the only one able to form words as Jin stared at his boyfriend with wide eyes.

“That Saga’s my brother? Yeah. At first, I thought it was you a couple of years ago but, I got Mom to confess. Therefore, I know about the hauntings in your house. What I don’t understand is that, Saga and Nao aren’t remotely related at all. I thought shrugging it off would be alright since they weren’t actual twins.” He stated off before looking straight at Tora and asking as he cocked his head to the side. “Now tell me, how did you guys even get to see ghosts without the actual twins in the house. I know Saga never saw one even if he was the real Ogata kid, so why change now?”

The raven clasped his hands together, one balling into a fist and the other covering it as Tora visibly shook from all the new information that was coming to him. “She… She said… Me and Nao are really brothers.”

“Shit,” Byou cursed. “We have to contact Mom.” He stood up from his chair but, before he could move Tora grabbed a hold of his shirt.

“Wait, if you knew I wasn’t really my father’s son or that Saga was really your brother why didn’t you do anything?” Tora questioned, confusion and hurt laced in his voice. Someone other than, Byou’s mom knew of this fact. Actually, Byou himself knew of it and for some odd reason he felt all the more betrayed even though he and Byou had only met a few days ago.

Why did these people let this charade go on for so many years? Tora didn’t know whether he should punch Byou right now for giving light to this new information or thank him for confirming it.

“I’m sorry.” Byou said. “I was planning to do something. But, I guess whatever the fuck is in that mansion ruined everything,” he stated before looking to his brother and saying. “Besides, how do you think Saga and I even got to know each other?” He looked back to Tora. “I was trying to do something for our families. It’s only been a year since we met and I was really hoping to spill the beans myself but—” He sighs, not finishing the awful sentence of saying it was his own mother’s fault but, instead he pulled the raven up from his seat and said. “Let’s go save your brother okay?”

Tora nodded, as much as he should be happy that he was finding out about his real family, there was a certain sting in his chest at the thought of Nao being his brother.

It didn’t at all sit well with him.

There was an anxious atmosphere looming about them when Byou tried to contact his mother and got sent straight to voicemail five times.

“What happened?” Tora asked as he was debating whether he should go over to Byou to check up on him, he didn’t like the concerned look etched upon the nurse’s features. It made him worry but, he was hoping that it was just a signal failure of the sort… Probably not, but a man could at least not hope for the worse.

“I can’t contact my mom. Not her phone or even landline. I’m getting worried.” Byou admitted before averting his attention to Tora. “You don’t think… She stayed at the mansion, did you?”

His stomach dropped at the question. “I hope not. As soon as I kicked her out of the house, Saga went missing and I went to look for him.”

“Shit,” Byou bit on his lower lip. “This is gonna be a problem. We need to come up with a plan fast. I don’t like the idea of either my Mom or Nao staying in that house any longer.”

“I’m coming.” Saga suddenly suggested, trying to sit himself up.

A simultaneous answer of: “Like hell you are,” from Tora and “Get back to fucking sleep.” From Byou.

“But Nao…” He tried weakly.

“Jin, please stay here with him.” Byou told his lover.

“You just admitted to me on going on a suicide mission of saving someone inside a haunted mansion and you expect my ass to be waiting here for you? Honey, I love you but, we both know you can’t survive without me.” Jin said with much finality. “Besides, we can just duct tape this guy or something into a chair and if we’re gone for more than, two days we can  send in an alarm for someone to pick him up with a note to let them go to the manor to investigate.”

“That’s actually not a bad idea.” Tora commented.

“Not really a fan of letting my boyfriend tag along on a suicide mission even if I know I can’t survive on my own.” Byou sufficed.

“Bitch, same.” Jin countered. “I’m going to check on the internet what we need for this suicide mission.” And with that, the younger blond left to get supplies.

“How are the both of you even this calm in the middle of a crisis!?” Tora exasperated, obviously too stressed  from the duo’s interaction.

“Probably not the best time to explain, but let’s just say we both reached peak stress even in a life or death situation.” Byou explained calmly. “Besides, Jin almost doesn’t believe in the supernatural so, he’s probably thinking a serial killer is on the loose so, he has police back up on his phone.”

Tora nods, still somewhat amazed and terrified. “What do we do with him?” He gestures to Saga.

“Don’t talk like I’m not here!” Saga shouts at the duo.

“You’re not even in any state to walk! Let alone face a fucking ghost.” Byou reminded his brother.

“Bu-but, Nao! It’s my fault he’s there… I… I can’t even remember anymore how I got him there…” Saga said in pain. “I was supposed to take us both home…”

“Is it possible that he can get possessed by the ghost?” Tora then suggested out of the blue.

“You think so?” Byou added.

“It can’t be…”

“Ever since you told me that you had a twin and you stayed over at the mansion, I think that’s when you started to get weird.” Tora explained. “Or at least I’d think so, you’ve been getting worse and worse. We don’t want to risk any chances of you actually getting possessed or dying because of coming along with us.”

“Agreed. Besides, you’re safer here. And if we don’t come back in two days or heck, even a day then you can call the police for us and hopefully we’re still alive by that time.” Byou nods then, sighs. ‘If our mom wasn’t missing, I really wouldn’t try and help these guys to get Nao back.’ He muses internally.

“I’ll go help Jin with our stuff. You think of what you need to do, Tora.” Byou patted the other’s shoulder before leaving.

Tora sat down in front of Saga. “We’ll get him back. I promise.”

“I swear, I was trying to get us away from the mansion, Tora. You gotta believe me.” He sounded frail, weak, and most importantly guilty. No matter how angry he was, he was trying to give the benefit of the doubt.

And fuck, that was hard to do this moment.

“Do you have your phone with you?” Saga inquired at this time.

Tora had the audacity to arch up an inquisitive brow. “Why?”

“You remember when I told you before, that I come in prepared? Always?” Saga told him with a small smile. “I told this to Nao but, I have contacts of ghost hunters. Real authentic ones. I kept a copy of their contacts in my email just in case…”

“I’ll ask Byou for a laptop or a phone.”

As Saga had said, there were a few contacts of ghost hunters in his email. Some of them were from other countries but, luckily, they got a hold of someone from Japan. A person named Matsumoto Ruki.

“Don’t leave your place, I’m coming first to asses what’s happening.” Ruki told over the phone.

“We were getting ready to go to the mansion in a couple of—” Tora tried but, was cut off.

“Do as I say. Do not move out till I see you all. This is of grave importance that you listen to me.” He said with much finality. “I already got the text of your address. I’m an hour drive away from your place, so wait for me.” With that, their call ended with Ruki putting down the line.

“What did he say?” Jin inquired.

“He told us to wait for him and don’t do anything without him.” Tora replied.

“Good, it’s better for us to wait for someone who actually knows what they’re doing.” Jin said in agreement. “And now, I have time to organize my contacts for the police and fire department and any other emergency contacts.” He announced, already fiddling with his phone for said work to do.

“Is that a good idea?” Tora questioned.

Jin looked back at him with an expression that screamed, ‘Duh.’

“Are you seriously asking me if it’s a good idea to have a back-up of people who can help us? I don’t know about you, but when I find a killer, I usually would want the police to know.” Jin explained. “You say it’s a ghost. I say some lunatic is harassing you guys. I’m willing to help you guys, but I don’t want me or Byou getting hurt in the process.”

Tora right there and then, felt like refusing Jin’s help because even though he didn’t exactly say that he found Tora and Saga looney, it was almost close to that.

More than an hour passed by before Ruki came, Tora and Saga were already too anxious by the wait that both of them had more than half the mind to want to bolt out of there and save Nao from the mansion. Luckily, as Saga was already planning on making a run for the door, the doorbell rang.

“Coming,” Jin answered and before he could ask who was at the front door, a man with red hair and shades obscuring his eyes had already entered their home.

“You guys are in trouble.” Ruki started off as a greeting which made Jin felt scared all of a sudden.

Ruki looked around, trying to find something and when his eyes fell upon Saga he pointed his index finger on the man and said, “Tie him up, and I mean that real good and tight.”

“I’m sorry for suddenly barging in on you guys like this” Another man apologized to the blond, who was taller than both Jin and Ruki. “I’m Kai and that’s my employer Matsumoto Ruki. We came as soon as we can.” Kai had short raven hair and wore what seemed to be reading glasses.

“Oh, okay. Come on in.” Jin replied, still shocked.

“What do you mean tie him up?” Byou then approached Ruki not liking how the other had suddenly came to their place and was already ordering people around.

“He’s possessed.” Ruki said as a matter of fact as he took off his shades and stared at Byou. “If we don’t do something about him quick, he’s going to stop all of us from trying to save the people stuck in the manor.”

“I am not!” Saga was quick to defend himself as he stood up on shaky legs. “You can’t just barge in here and tell them that lie!”

“I’m not lying.” Ruki said as he started to walk towards Saga. He placed a hand on the brunet’s head, thumb on the forehead and he chanted under his breath a small prayer. In an instant, Saga started to convulse, and smoke appeared from the forehead where Ruki’s thumb was at. His prayer lasted no longer than two minutes.  As he finished, Saga had fallen back to sleep.

“I put him to sleep for now. If the spirit’s hold on him is that strong, he will wake up sooner.” Ruki explained as he took out a handkerchief from his pocket and cleaned off his hands before turning to his apprentice. “Kai, I need your help to bind him.”

“This feels so surreal.” Jin whispers to his boyfriend. He would’ve found these supernatural happenings nonsensical, if it wasn’t for the fact that he had looked Ruki up on google earlier. Jin would’ve thrown a fit for inviting another total stranger to his home, but from the research articles he had seen from both in Japan and in Europe Ruki seemed to be some sort of expert, not to mention he found numerous sources with attached pictures of Ruki  and Kai together solving cases of supposedly haunted houses so Jin was at least willing to give him the benefit of the doubt.

“Can we trust him?” Byou asked his boyfriend.

“He seems legit from what I read. He was even in the newspapers.” Jin continued to whisper back.

“Hey, you’re Tora, right?” Ruki asked to the raven, to which the other nodded yes as a response. “Help us tie him up. Tell your friends to get us a chair.”

After tying Saga up and putting him under a Buddhist protective circle that has Sanskrit mantras written on it by Ruki himself, Ruki had them all on a group meeting at the living room.

“I didn’t think anyone would be stupid enough to try anything with the Gemini Manor.” Ruki started as Kai stood right beside him typing away on his laptop. “How are you two involved?”

“Saga’s my half-brother.  What are we going to do now?” Byou said.

“I’ve so far pacified your brother. I’m going to have Kai stay here and watch him. Are any of you here descendants of the Ogata’s?” Ruki inquires.

“Aside from Saga, no one is.” Tora sufficed. “That is all I know of…”

“No wonder that guy’s bond is strong.” Ruki said mostly to himself, but loud enough for everyone to hear. “You two.” He points to Tora and Byou. “Come with me tomorrow. You guys can bring anything you deem necessary to protect yourselves, but not the ones that will slow you down. The rest will stay here.”

“Uhm no? I’m going with you guys.” Jin suddenly interrupted.

“Who are you exactly?” Ruki inquires.

“That’s,” Jin points to Byou. “My boyfriend you’re taking on a suicide mission. Like hell I’ll agree to staying behind.”

“You’ll be baggage to carry when we go there. The less people involved, the better.” Ruki explains as a matter of fact.

“You can’t boss us around here!” Jin chastises Ruki. “Besides, how can we be so sure to trust you?! We only just met you!” The blond looked as though he was ready to fight Ruki any time, if it wasn’t for Byou who was already holding him back.

Ruki arched up a brow, seemingly taking in Jin’s reaction. Kai leaned in close to him and whispered, “What should we do, Ruki-san? If you make him stay, I can’t concentrate on  keeping Saga in check. He might try to escape.”

“Alright, you can come,” Ruki caved in.

“Good,” Jin nodded with a huff.

“But, you’ll keep watch outside of the house.” Ruki continued, followed by an indignant reply from Jin of:

“What?!”

“It’s too dangerous inside and I can’t protect three people all at once if we get into trouble. So, you will be our perimeter guard. We need you outside of the mansion so when you hear too much noise of screaming and maybe even murder, you’ll be there to call authorities quickly.” Ruki explained carefully.

“We’re in a huge ass mansion though, how will Jin hear us from the outside?” Byou added.

“I’ve got that covered.” He looked to Kai and ordered the younger to bring out their communicators from the bag they brought. “I have an ear piece here, five in total so we can keep communication with each other. Believe it or not, there have been times where other hunters like myself had to use these. And if Tora is not opposed.” Ruki said as he looked to the raven. “We have flares. We could buy more if you’d like.” Ruki shrugs. They had on more than one occasion used flares in haunted houses.

Whether the others would believe him on this or not, it has been useful in drawing away the spirits and calling for help. Who cares if you ruin one room in a haunted house if you can survive.

“The mansion is big though. How will I be able to see which part of the house you guys are in?” Jin inquired, seemingly warming up to the idea.

“That’s your job to figure out. Hence, why I need you to be our outside guard.” Ruki said as he stood up and instructed to the others. “We leave by noon tomorrow. I’ll check out the house perimeters and Kai will stay here to keep an eye on Saga.” He turned to his apprentice. “Just keep him in the circle and don’t let anybody touch him.”

“Roger that,” Kai replied with a smile and a playful salute.

That night, Byou and Tora spent most of the time helping Kai with their equipment. It felt rather surreal and unbelievable that ghost hunters would need so much stuff, but then again it wasn’t mostly electronics but books, charms, and so called sacred items as Kai had mentioned.

Jin was left with a frown, being told by Kai to watch over Saga but don’t get at least 5 feet close to him. The blond grunted, obviously not having the mind of going at least one room close to Saga if he had a choice.

They had to wait for Ruki to arrive once again, the atmosphere in the room thick and heavy. Everyone was trying hard not to mention the white elephant in the room: Saga unconscious and tied to a chair. Most of the night it was Tora inquiring Kai of what they would be doing the next day and Byou listening intently. Byou knew from the stories from the hospital and from his mother, that the manor was not to be underestimated. His own mother herself had told Byou and scolded him many time to never ever step foot close to that cursed place.

It seems that his mother herself should’ve listened to her own words; the thought of his mom left a bitter feeling mixed with worry. He hoped she was alright; the only reason he was helping out a lot was because he needed to know that she was safe.

An uncomfortable vibe surrounded the apartment for an hour or two until, Ruki came back. At the sight of Ruki, Kai visibly relaxed and felt more at ease. He never was good with strangers and preferred not to interact with them as much as possible, only if Ruki had instructed would he do so.

“Get some rest everyone.” Ruki told the people in the apartment. “We’ll be having a long day tomorrow.”

By the next day, everyone was ready for the manor. Once Ruki had deemed the area of Byou and Jin’s house safe, he proceeded to do more prayers to Saga. He ordered everyone of what items they should bring and what to do inside the mansion.

“This is the place,” Tora said as he drove them to the Gemini Manor.

A whistle came from Ruki as he once again removed the shades he wore to take a better look at the mansion. “This is going to be big.” He was the first one out, pulling out of his bag paper charms and sticking them on the walls of the mansion.

“Jin,” He called out to the blond and threw another bag at him. “Help me put this around the entire house as much as possible. We can’t let the spirit escape and do even worse damage.”

The placing of charms took more than an hour and by the time they had finished Jin had looked tired just from the act itself. Even with four of them on the job, with the mansion being as big as it is, it was still a task itself.

“If you see the killer, don’t forget to scream as loud as you can okay baby?” Jin said as he was arranging Byou’s bag for him. “Scream for my name then, put out the flare. Preferably near a window so I can see alright?” He reminded as he gave the bag to Byou.

“Jin, we have earpieces. Don’t worry.” Byou smiled softly.

“I know, and I don’t care. Wreck my ears if you must.” He replied back and went up on his tippy toes to kiss his boyfriend. “Now go out there and kick that killer’s butt.”

“Spirit actually,” Ruki interjected in their conversation.

“I wasn’t talking to you, Ruki.” Jin stuck his tongue out. “Stay safe Chawan.”

Byou kissed his forehead. “You too Jinnie.”

“Jesus Christ, can we please hurry this up?!” Tora exasperated.

Entering the manor, Ruki was in the lead assessing the area around them as Tora and Byou kept behind him. The duo was looking to their sides and even behind them, making sure that nothing would jump out at them.

“We need to hurry up and get to the garden area.” Byou stated. Earlier in their conversation, Tora had said the garden opening was the only way for his mother to have gotten inside the house again. It was locked but easily pick-able. After going to the garden door earlier, they realized that something was blocking it for some odd reason. Something that never happened before as Tora explained.

“The library is closer,” The raven explained.

“My mom’s an old lady. Nao’s a full-grown healthy adult. I’m pretty sure he can last a couple of minutes more alone.” The blond countered.

“You forget the fact that he was in your hospital only a couple of days ago.” Tora retaliated.

“And you two need to shut up and stick to our plan.” Ruki scolded the both of them. “If your mom did enter the mansion, she most likely wouldn’t be in the garden anymore. She explored the mansion and probably got into rooms that wasn’t meant for anyone to get in. Our best bet as of now is going in the library.”

“Byou, you better not split up with any of these guys or else I’m coming for your ass you hear me?” Jin said over their earpiece.

And as they bickered, from the half-landing of the mansion came a woman. The entire manor was only dimly lit, by the setting sun and from the looks of the woman, she definitely was not someone who seemed from here. She wore a black dress, which seemed to go all the way down to the floor, and her long dark hair a mess that looked as though it had been unkept for days, maybe even years as she walked to the staircase with only her sideview revealed to the boys.

“Holy fuck,” Byou cursed under his breath as all eyes were on her.

“What? What happened?” Jin said over their earpiece.

Her skin looked pale, too pale that it was ghostly white. She had stopped as she was close to the staircase, not moving an inch as her gaze was at the window only, not sparing a glance to them. And in that moment, they heard a soft cry from her.

“Get back,” Ruki ordered as one hand gestured for the duo to step back and the other readied for a Kuji-In mantra (a meditation mantra that enhances a person).

As the duo stepped back, the spirit arched her head back and started to wail, her cries echoing throughout the entire manor. It was a loud and screechy sob, one that told of sorrows and pain. They could see on her face, tears that strained her ghost white face as she cried.

“What do we do, Ruki?” Tora whispered, feeling his entire body tremble at the sight. He had seen that face before, it may be a bit different from what he had seen through the paintings and old photographs but, he was sure that was one of the Ogata twins.

“What’s happening you guys?” Jin kept on persisting.

Which one of them, he wasn’t sure yet. And he’s hoping to god that it was the lesser evil one… Assuming that one of them was a lesser evil.

“Did you guys bring the salt?” Ruki whispered back.

“Yeah, of course we did.” Byou answered. “Babe, there’s a spirit here, give us a second.”

To which Jin replied, “Spirit my ass, must be a projector.”

“Can we please keep the line for important comments only?” Ruki said as calmly as he could, trying to break up unnecessary chatter. “For now, put salts on yourselves and continue to dab a little of them where we’re going.” Ruki instructed, trying to keep his annoyance in face value only; his words were answered with a tsk by the blond outside the mansion.

As soon as the duo started to do as they were told, he muttered under his breath a Hi-Fu-Mi norito prayer, which had (a purification prayer with the power of changing misfortune to good fortune.  After the prayer, Ruki’s eyes never left the ghost on the mezzanine as he inquired to Tora. “Is there another way to get to the library without passing through the main staircase?”

“We could go to the service quarters.” Tora whispered close.

“Lead the way. Don’t forget to throw out a bit of salt as you walk.” Ruki stated as he eyed the spirit intensely and moved to another room.

They got into the main living room, the one where Tora had first found Saga. The area was getting darker and darker so, everyone had to bring out their flashlights.

“This way, watch your step.” Tora said.

“I hope the lights are still operational.” Ruki blurted out his thoughts.

“We can open the lights?” Tora said as both he and Byou looked at the red-head incredulously.

Ruki looked at the duo with an expression that said duh. “The moment we entered the house the spirits already know we’re here guys. I’m pretty sure both of you saw that spirit by the stairs, right? It was most likely intentional that she showed herself. Let’s just hope they won’t be asses who fuck with the lights.”

“Oh, okay… Uhm, the switch is right here.” Tora moved to the switch and in an instant, the room was illuminated with light.

“Thank fuck—” Byou started but, couldn’t finish the sentence as the moment his eyes fell onto Tora; behind him he saw one would call an insidious and malevolent face that would render any man paralyzed just from the sight of it.

Behind Tora stood only a face, there was nothing that could be deciphered as a body as everything was drowned in black. Her face ashen white, a crooked smile with blackening chipped teeth, her eyes were as dark as obsidian, and she wore a sinister smile on her lips as she watched them. Her eyes roomed the entire room, eyeing each man before her gaze bore into Byou’s direction that told him with her eyes alone.

‘You’re not welcome, intruder.’

All color from Byou’s face left him as he felt cold, unable to move nor even breathe from the image of the ghost glaring at him.

As Ruki’s attention was only averted for a split second, Tora’s screams echoed throughout the house as he was harshly pulled on the leg by the spirit.

“Tora!” Ruki quickly ran towards him as the raven shouted for help. He scratched and tried to grab a hold of just about anything he could on the hallway’s floor. Tora’s fingers scrapped painfully on the carpeted floor as he fought to kick whatever was pulling him. He could feel his fingertips get cut from the action, trying his best to find something that would help him get a grip.

“What happened!? What’s happening?! Byou!” Jin could hear screaming from their communicators. He had been roaming the entire mansion for the third time now, seeing if there was anyone shady snooping around when he heard the screams. Jin’s heart thumped loud against his ribcage, feeling anxiety edge over the top in him. He ran to the entrances of the mansion again, trying to find an open door…

It seemed as though all of a sudden all entrances were blocked. “Byou!” Jin shouted. “Byou, where are you?!”

Byou and Ruki scrambled into the dark hallway, trying to catch up and just when Ruki was close enough to grab a hold of Tora’s hand, the raven had made it into the kitchen with the door slamming right into his face, enabling them from saving the raven from the entities in the house.

“Ruki!” Tora’s scream could be heard from the other side along with the sounds of something heavy falling and glasses or ceramics falling and crashing.

“He… He’s gone…” Byou said, feeling his own knees go weak as he fell down on the floor, eyes wide, and staring at the closed door.

“Byou! What’s happening?!” Jin was practically screaming into their ears now but, the duo didn’t have the time to answer him. “Shit.”

Ruki looked behind him and gritted his teeth. He walked towards the blond, took him by the collar of his shirt then, slapped the other back to his senses. “Get up and help me open this door. I don’t need you whining on me.”

The blond looked at Ruki with tears streaking the edges of his eyes, so close to falling.

“Don’t forget, we’re still looking for your mother.” Ruki reminded him.

“Byou!” Jin was now incessantly calling out to the others.

“And make your fucking boyfriend SHUT.UP.!” Ruki himself shouted into their intercoms, thinking to himself that it was a horrible idea to let this guy’s idiotic boyfriend try to help.

Byou nodded, gulping and shakily standing up again. He proceeded to throw salt on their ground and back to himself and Ruki’s before they tried to once again to open the door. “Ji-Jin. Don’t worry, I’m fine. Please keep quiet for now.”

Ruki prayed his Kuji-In mantra quickly then, held the door knob and as soon as he had finished he tried pushing it open. Byou helped him push, throwing salt onto the door as well and a minute later they had it open, specifically with Ruki kicking it open.

The kitchen was a mess.

The glass plates were everywhere, thrown to almost every corner, crook, and cranny. One could see other glass wares broken on top of cabinets. The knives and utensils sheathing deep into both the wooden and marble furniture that one was to question what kind of impossible human strength would be able to stab that knife into the marble floor.

“Ruki-san,” Byou was quick to grab a hold on the back of the other’s shirt, staying close behind him. Byou trembled in fear; he didn’t know what to do and he sure as hell was not ready for these weird supernatural terrors.

“Stay close and don’t hold onto my shirt, you’ll be in the way.” Ruki answered gruffly as he pulled his shirt away from Byou’s hands.

Byou kept his devices to himself, holding his hands together as he followed close to the other; much like a tail.

“Jin?” Byou murmured softly into their intercom, but there was no reply only a soft static. “Jin, are you there?” Byou tried again, feeling his heart pound so hard against his chest that it would leapt out. His entire body felt cold, his pulse ringing through his ears out of nervousness, and he just wanted to stay calm and think more clearly with the help of Jin but now, his boyfriend wasn’t answering, and it made Byou even more anxious.

“Jin,” He tried again.

“Shut up,” Ruki said gruffly, getting more annoyed by the minute as he opened the door leading up to the second floor. “Do you have any idea of where the library may be?”

“N-No.”

The redhead sighed, this was a mess and he seriously wished that he was with Kai instead. He would prefer if he was working with his assistant to actually help him, not babysitting some possessed person at some apartment kilometers away from where he was.

Hopefully, no trouble would brew about from the apartment. So far, he hasn’t received any distress calls from Kai from their intercom unlike a certain someone’s annoying boyfriend… Which reminds him, that squirt has been awfully quiet recently; Ruki has half the mind to be tempted to ask of his well-being.

“Follow me here,” Ruki gestured towards the blond as they were yet in another hallway. It was eerily creepy, and it wasn’t that hard to imagine or feel that you were being watched by something that was lurking within the shadows. They didn’t know where the light switches were located, only Tora knew of it and all they had were their flashlights which Ruki had made sure to pack at least 3 extra pairs of batteries for each of them.

The hallway was getting darker and darker, the temperature as though it had gone 10 degrees lower. It was easy to ignore earlier with the adrenaline rush of trying to get Tora back. But now, the entity following them was bolder, braver, and definitely not afraid of what Ruki can and may do.

He had noticed the sounds before, footsteps just a couple of feet’s away from them. When Tora was taken, he had heard breathing, ragged uncontrollable breathing that was so close to him, he could almost feel the other person breathing down his neck. That had happened to him many times before, Ruki mumbling out a small mantra under his breath as he would lightly massage his nape.

Other times it would work, but at moments like her in the manor he could still feel the presence behind him. It’s presence cold and every breath it puffed to Ruki’s nape was a cold chill that smelled an awful lot like rotten eggs.

The redhead walked on bravely, directing his light from side to side at times to make sure nothing else would spook up behind them. He glanced behind him to see Byou, still trembling like a kitten on a cold rainy day, quietly mumbling for Jin to respond back to him. He sighed again, this was going to be a lot of work for him.

He hated for Byou to get into his personal space but, maybe he could make this small exception this one time. The guy looks like he’s going to have a heart attack.

“Stand beside me, hold onto my shirt but if you fucking pull hard I swear I won’t hesitate to punch you.” Ruki warned. “Be sure to be on high alert, wouldn’t want you to go missing on me as well.”

“Thanks,” Byou’s features lighted up a little from the action and Ruki knew the other felt reassured from the small gesture, no matter how annoying it was consequently to Ruki.

Every so often, Byou would throw out salt and call for Jin. It had been almost ten minutes now and Byou still couldn’t get a hold of his boyfriend and Ruki was starting to think that they had gotten lost. He thought that maybe the ghost in the mansion was trying to get them lost on purpose, but it didn’t seem to be the case since they haven’t really walked past the same corridor yet… Being in such a huge house was too much of a big disadvantage for them.

At this rate, it’ll be too late for them to find both Tora and Byou’s mom.

Byou’s senses were going on sky high, he tried to blame it off on his imagination. He tried to convince himself that there was nothing there, that there were no third footsteps on the marble floor that echoed loudly in his ears, there weren’t any extra small scuffling noises that stepped on the red carpet below them.

And he most definitely did not feel chills. Chill that seemed to surround him, at his back and even in front of him almost radiating from Ruki. His fingers trembled, he could almost feel someone leaning into him, their lips so close to his ear that there was a disgusting odor that seemed to encircle him.

“Ru-Ruki, I still can’t get a hold of Jin. I’m getting worried.” Byou voiced his concerns in a stutter.

The redhead did find it odd that the loud-mouthed blond hadn’t been screaming in their ears for the past minutes. More so, ever since they entered the mansion, he hadn’t heard a single update from Kai back at the apartment. It may be time for Ruki to actually start worrying and think of a plan B in action.

“Kai?” Ruki called out to his apprentice. His voice sounded demanding, ordering Kai to reply back to him. The urgency in his voice coating the hidden worry in his words. “Status on your position.”

Still no answer.

“Kai, answer me.” Ruki ordered this time, trying to decipher how dangerous the situation they were getting into now. “Talk to me now.”

Kai would never leave Ruki unanswered a second time. There’s only one logical explanation for that, and it would be that their situation has grown from bad to worse.

“We’re gonna need to hurry up and get to that library.” Ruki said as he tugged Byou close to him whom was still desperately calling out to his boyfriend; Ruki was now somehow hoping Jin was still alright outside of the mansion.  They started to speed walk their way into the halls. Slowly, he felt a distortion in the air, something lurking amongst their sides and Ruki gritted his teeth in irritation. Back then, it only felt as though something was following them but now, it felt as though eyes watched their every move on every corner of the hall.

Their gazes falling on them, looking at every part of the duo as though they were some meat to be devoured whole and it made the hairs on their skin crawl.

It wasn’t that he had underestimated the spirits in this house, on the contrary, Ruki had tried to take every precaution necessary when entering the mansion. If it were up to him, he would’ve only brought Tora and Saga along with Kai so they could solve this quickly but, not everything can go according to plan.

He opened door after door, running the hallways as they scouted every place they could. The largeness of the mansion was dizzying, the darkness surrounding them as though it wanted to engulf the two of them whole and enveloping them in a mist of miasma. It was almost suffocating, the air choking them but Ruki fought hard against it.

He can’t have people dying on his watch.

There was a static in their intercoms, as though there was a rummaging and a sharp sound that stinged both men’s ears before they heard it. “Byou,” They both heard Jin’s voice. It felt far, too distorted and difficult to distinguish but, Byou just knew that it had to be Jin.

“Jin? Jin, are you there?” In a haste, Byou answered back, his voice laced with obvious relief from getting a reply back.

‘Get out.’ Somebody said through their intercoms and it brought a shiver down to Byou’s spine. It almost felt as though it was said directly to his ear and Byou felt his knees go weak almost rendering him unable to walk.

His head twitched, holding tighter onto Ruki’s shirt. “Ji-Jin.” Byou choked on a sob as he tried to focus on his boyfriend’s voice. He could almost feel someone breathing down his neck up to his ears and Byou swore, he tried to think of everything imaginable just to pry his mind away from the idea that someone was leaning in so close to him.  

“Where…” Another static, Jin’s voice choppy in their communicators. “… are you guys?”

“Please don’t tell me you entered because I swear to fuck I cannot handle too many problems all at once.”  Ruki grunted.

Well, that’s one less problem to think about.

“I can’t… enter.” Jin answered, the sound of the metal gates being pulled roughly being heard in the background. “Somebody locked you guys inside the mansion.”

“Fuck, fuck, this is not happening.” Byou could be heard panicking, nearly whimpering in fear.

“Don’t make me slap you again.” Ruki warned Byou. “And Jin, whatever you do don’t enter the mansion like I said!”

“You can’t tell me what to—”

No matter how loud Jin’s voice may have been, it seemed that the door creaking open behind them was louder. The duo came to a halt. Ruki quickly turned his gaze to the room behind them, as Byou himself once again looked as though he would faint from fear.

“Don’t forget your salt.” Ruki reminded as Byou suddenly held onto his pack as though his life depended on it. “Jin, keep talking to your boyfriend.” Ruki ordered as he took a step towards a room that they had passed by.

The redhead didn’t understand as to why and how they didn’t notice the room that had magically appeared at the pathway they were walking through but, suddenly it was there and something was dying to have them enter into the said room.

‘No,’ a voice came from behind them as they stood in front of the door.

‘No don’t’ it continued. ‘Stop it, please.’

 

‘Stop it,’  it was as though voices had merged and talked at the same time over and over again repeating the same distinct words. ‘No,’

 

“Ruki, maybe we shouldn’t—” Byou tried.

“Calm down Byou, calm down. I’m here. We’re gonna get through this together.” Byou instead heard Jin calming him down through their communicators, doing his job in keeping Byou in check so Ruki wouldn’t have to worry much about his whining. When Byou had visibly calmed down and convinced himself once again that the voiced he and Ruki heard earlier were nothing but their imagination they entered the room.

It appears as though the room hadn’t been inhabited for years. Dust had accumulated every single part of the area, the bed was missing a mattress but, the wooden frame seemed to be tearing apart due to termites or from it being forgotten for many years.

The room itself seemed to be one that they should have never entered but, nonetheless Ruki needed to know why.

What made this room be off-limits?

If only he had Kai right now, he would know what happened inside this room.

But as of now, all Ruki could do would be to sense the spirit inside and guess what happened… Or even better, for the spirit to come to them and explain herself why she was locked inside this room... And why the other entity was so adamant in keeping them away from here.

“It’s you.” Ruki said as he directed his flashlight at one corner of the room. “You’re the spirit from the staircase earlier.”

At the far-left corner of the room sat a girl with her back towards them as she cried. She huddled her body into a small ball, hugging her knees as she cried softly. Yet, her cries started to become louder, messier, and one that indicated of pain. Her body shook with each step Ruki took that got him closer to her.

“Tell me your name.” Ruki said, stepping closer but with caution.

She shook her head ‘No’, her long dark hair swaying along messily with her; she cried more as though she was afraid… But afraid of who? Afraid of Ruki? Or afraid of something else?

“Tell me who you are.” Ruki’s voice came an octave higher, obviously wanting to help the spirit but with the way she was acting he couldn’t help but think she may be luring them into something.

“No!” She shouted to Ruki, trying to scurry closer to the corner in hopes of hiding and becoming smaller enough for the redhead to ignore.

“Tell me your name!” Ruki shouted back as he placed his hand on her shoulder and forced her to look at him.

Her eyes were sunken deep into her skull, making them seem like dark holes with her eyes dark and liquidating from rotting on the inside, her skin pale as death, hair shriveled and wilting as a dark liquid that looked to be blood streamed from the side of her head, and her head itself elongated from her jaw as she screamed back at Ruki with a shrill high voice.

The sound of Byou falling and screaming back at the ghost as he scrambled to get to the wall in hopes of support or getting as far away from her as possible but, not leaving Ruki at all.

“Tell me your name!” Ruki said again as he held her with both hands and stared deep into her eyeless sockets. “Tell me!”

“Naoko!!” She screamed, dark blood flowing out of her empty eyes. “Naoko!!”

Ruki took out his ojuzu (prayer beads) and started to pray for peace of her soul, to calm the spirit down. The entire room shook, her wails grew louder and even deafening, her entire being looked as though it was fighting against Ruki’s own good will as she stared straight into him, screaming right onto his face. She leaned into him, a mere centimeter space between them as blood oozed out her sockets, nose, and mouth. Her sockets were an abyss, yet the abyss stared back at Ruki in all its horrors.

He recited a death prayer, calling out to Jizo Bosatsu (Buddhism patron saint of souls trapped in hell) and prayed for the name of Naoko.

“Jizo Bosatsu!” Ruki called out, gazing back onto Nao as he prayed for her peace and for help because god knows he fucking needs it right now. “Jizo Bosatsu!” He chanted out, until it was Naoko herself who relented screamed out, looking away from Ruki and gazing up as though something else had caught her attention.

She screamed, more tears streaming her ashen face until, Hi no Tama’s (light fireballs) started to appear around her until the duo were engulfed in bright light.

In a quick instance, Ruki held onto her and in a split second she was gone.

Ruki fell to his knees, breathing heavily as he felt his own body shaking from the amount of physically energy he had to endure and to give the spirit some peace. His entire body hurt, and the redhead felt as though he was about to vomit and become sick.

Yet, he held himself together.

The redhead still had work to do.

Ruki took in deep breaths, closing his eyes for a moment as he focused on calming himself down. At that moment, Ruki heard the wooden floor underneath him chip and creak open. He averted his attention to the breaking floor, seeing the crack Ruki put a hand underneath the floor boards and started to rip it apart. He pulled out wood after wood, not caring whether his skin would get cut or that what he might find underneath would be more trouble brewing about.

All he knows that it’s her reaching out to him.

As soon as he removed a chunk of the floor, underneath them all he saw her. She was buried inside the room, with nothing but the wood and dirt to accompany her. She must’ve been rotting there for years, her skins shriveled and sticking to her bones as there was almost no flesh on her anymore. She stayed in the ground hidden, kept as secret as she must’ve hoped and wished for years for someone to find her in order to end her suffering. Her dress was in tatters, her skull bashed and cracked at the side since Ruki could decipher a dislocated jaw and fractured throat on her decomposing body.

“I found you.” He smiled, reaching out to touch her cheek. “You’re safe now.”

In that instant, the entire mansion shook again, and another scream could be heard throughout the entire house.

Ruki eyed Byou for a moment, the man holding onto the walls still for dear life and out of the corner of his eye Ruki saw a shadow by the door.

“Byou, let’s go.” He ordered, even when his body was resisting every single movement, every fiber in him was telling him that he was already over exerting himself but, Ruki wouldn’t listen. He wouldn’t give up and go out now.

He still had three people to find now.

“Whe-where are we going?” It was a wonder that Byou still found the voice to question Ruki as he stood on shaky legs, not wanting to be separated from the redhead.

“We’re following her.” Ruki stated as he grabbed a hold of Byou’s hand and started to run towards Naoko’s shadow.

He understood her now, she was hiding. Her shadow being the only thing that could protect her and her presence earlier at the staircase? A warning.

She was always warning everyone around her to stay as far away as they can from this place.

“Who are we following?!” Byou demanded answers but, did nothing to stop Ruki.

In no less than, two minutes they had found themselves at the entrance of the library with Nao’s shadow dissipating as she held onto the handles.

Ruki held onto the handles, looking over to Byou. “Get ready.” The blond nodded to him and as Ruki opened the door they were faced with an unconscious Tora sprawled about on the floor of the library.

“Tora!” The duo shouted as they quickly ran towards the raven’s side. Ruki was the one who quickly shook the other, Byou was helping him hold the other by the collar as they tried to get him to wake up.

Seconds later Tora groaned, his eyes slowly opening; at first it was a blurry haze of figures until eventually Tora clearly saw both Byou and Ruki.

“Guys,” His voice was hoarse, and it hurt when he tried to talk.

“What happened to you?” Ruki inquired.

“I was… Something dragged me… Then,” Tora started until his eyes suddenly widened and he looked to his side. “Saga!”

In a flash, Ruki was tackled down onto the ground by Saga.

There was a wild look in the brunet’s eyes. It looked dark and hollow, as though Ruki was staring at the abyss again but this time in Saga’s now obsidian orbs. A howl erupted from Saga’s throat, one that sounded more animalistic than human almost to the quality of a beast. Saga’s hands wrapped themselves around Ruki’s throat, applying pressure on it as Saga’s features looked as though it was morphing into one of a ghoul.

His face was paler, his eyes darker, teeth looking rotten, and a foul smell came from him.

In a haste, Byou used his body to shove Saga to get off of Ruki. It worked in making the brunet let go of the hunter but, not enough to make Saga move away from Ruki. Byou tried to grab a hold of Saga’s hand, Ruki doing the same so his hands that now suddenly seemed to have claws on them were doing its damndest to injure both of them.

“Ruki!” A familiar voice echoed throughout the room and for a split second, the redhead saw Kai from the doorway; he didn’t have time to process the ashen face of the other whom suddenly started to colour due to the adrenaline rush of seeing Ruki in a state of danger.

An hour or less from when Ruki and the others had left him alone with Saga, Kai had almost seen nothing out of the blue. He did his duties of watching over the brunet male, checking from time to time the other rooms as well making sure no funny business happened. Mostly, it was to see if the charms that Ruki had placed were still there.

Kai was reading a book about prayer rituals when Saga suddenly started to stir. He looked up from his book, watching the other male. The raven was no fool when it came to the possessed; he and Ruki had dealt with many cases as such before so, he knew what to do. Kai waited, watching Saga as though he was stalking a prey. He need not to be afraid nor did he need to panic.

When Saga suddenly ceased his shaking from the chair he was bound in, Kai took that as a sign that he should check up on the other.

He stood up from his seat, not forgetting to take a charm with him. It was better to be safe than sorry as Ruki had stated many times over.

“Hey,” The raven called out to Saga, standing at least three to five feet away from him. “How are you?”

“Water,” Saga asked in a hoarse tone of voice. “Please.”

Kai was skeptical for a few seconds, this had happened to him before. Someone possessed asking if they could open the window just a little for them since they were suffocating from the enclosed space of the room… Kai made a horrible mistake of coming in too close before and suffering fatal injuries from the other.

No way in hell was he falling for the same trick over again.

“We still have,” He stated as Kai checked his wrist watch. “Two hours and twenty-eight minutes before I can actually try and do something with you.” He said with a smile before looking back at Saga. “So, sorry buddy. We’re gonna be staring buddies for a while here.”

“It hurts,” Saga tried again, his voice failing him. “Please, water.”

Kai sighs, “Really, I—” He wasn’t able to finish his sentence as out of the blue something started to rattle. Kai looked around him, his ears straining to decipher which part of the apartment was that sound coming from. “What did you do?” Kai inquired Saga in hushed low tone of voice.

“Water,” Was all the reply he got from Saga.

Kai listened once again and realized that the sound was coming from the bedroom. He looked to Saga, then back to the room where the crashing sounds were now coming from.

“Don’t you dare move.” Kai warned Saga as he slowly walked his way to the door. He needed to place a couple of charms on the door and all will be well again. He didn’t even need to open it.

The raven took in a deep breath to calm himself down.

“Water, water.” Saga started to complain louder.

Kai grew frustrated, annoyed by the other as he turned to him to scold Saga. “I told you, shut—” His attention was only away for a split second and all of a sudden, the door to the room Kai was planning to seal shut had opened.

A dark entity stood at the doorway and Kai was left in a paralyzed shock. He stared at the dark figure, it’s ominous image instilled fear in him as the air around him suddenly felt heavier and deadlier. Yet, Kai was not one to completely forget everything into fear, he was quick to come back from shock and he held onto the paper charms tighter as he threw one to the spirit.

Yet, the charm he threw was only avoided by the entity, it split into two dark halves of smoke then surrounded Kai. It grabbed a hold of the raven then, threw him against the wall.

In that moment, Saga broke free and everything was a blur. Kai woke up in the dark and looked for Saga. He cursed and quickly got up on his feet. He took his bag then, ran towards the manor. The manor was a few blocks away and Kai was afraid that he may have been too late, that everything was for naught and he may have put Ruki in danger.

“Shit, shit!” Kai cursed, as he stole a bike whilst passing by the streets.

It took him at least fifteen minutes to get to the mansion and when he got there, he saw no signs of Jin in the area. “Ruki!” Kai screams as he enters the manor alone.

The lights were on when he arrived at the entrance of the manor. He searched left and right, preparing a charm in his hands as he screamed “Ruki!” He heaved out a heavy breath, feeling his heart pound hard against his chest. He was afraid and worried.

‘This never happened before.’ He mused internally before he ran again, through the hallways and stairs screaming Ruki’s name before he stopped at one hallway. His eyes widened, and he once again halted at the image in front of him.

To anyone, there was nothing but, a beautiful and magnificent hallway in front of them. But to Kai’s eyes, he saw something different. It was dark, vile, and cruel… But, not one that would hurt him. It was a shadow that had been done dark, vile, and cruel things into it. The trauma in it made it look evil but, Kai saw past it.

“Is Ruki there with you?” Kai inquired but, he got no answer. He gritted his teeth and asked again with his fists clenched and showed the charm to the shadow. “I’m not afraid to use this! Tell me where he is?!” He said in anger.

The shadow shook its head, looking at him in disappointment.

Kai moved closer, following the trail of shadows into a room. The room looked abandoned and Kai wondered for a moment if Ruki really was here, but for some odd reason he wanted, no needed to enter this room. There was something here, something that he needed to find out. He could feel Ruki’s presence in the area, especially in this very room.

‘Is he hiding here somewhere or was he here just recently?’ He couldn’t tell properly because something in this room felt wrong.

He walked around, calling the redhead’s name once again before tripping on the broken wooden floor and falling to the ground. He tried to break the fall but, couldn’t and ended up sprawled on the ground with his hand touching onto an open space in the floor.

In that moment, he saw it.

There were two sisters arguing, from the looks of it they were the twins of this manor that much Kai could tell. He watched as a spectator, seeing the one called Sachiko slamming down hard behind her as tears streamed down on her cheeks, screaming of betrayal onto her sister.

The other looked calm, or as calm as she could be as she tried to soothe down the other’s anger. But she couldn’t—Sachiko’s anger blocking all sense of reason.

“No.” Kai whispered under his breath. “No, don’t.” He said as though the sisters could hear him. He felt it, the horrible, gut clenching feelings he gets when something bad was supposed to happen. He felt his stomach churn, bile moving up to his throat as the raven felt like throwing up.

There was a pain in his chest that Kai couldn’t stop and everything all around him felt like a disastrous nightmare. “No please,” He said, legs shaky as he held a hand out to stop the scene in front of him.

“Don’t do this please, stay away from her!” He shouted, tears starting to rush down from his eyes. “Stay away! Don’t!” He begged.

“If I can’t have you.” Sachiko started.

“Stop it, please.” Kai pleaded.

“Then, no one can.” Sachiko stated and Kai screamed in horror as Sachiko suddenly wrapped her hands around her twin’s throat and started to choke her to death.

Kai felt those hands on him, felt the pain that was inflicted on Nao as he cried. “No stop it!” He went down on his knees as he watched the scene in front of him unfold. He can’t do this, not now. He can’t help Naoko right now, he needed to find Ruki first

But, how can he help Ruki if he himself was trapped in this nightmare?

“Stop it!” Kai begged for the memory to stop, begged for the horrible past to stop and to let him go. He didn’t want this, didn’t want to see this. He just wanted to save Ruki now.

How will he escape without Ruki? It had been years since he has seen a murder alone without Ruki, he can’t bear this much pain alone.

Sachiko forced Naoko into a wall while, choking her. At that moment, Kai saw Naoko try to grab onto the steel vase at the corner of her bedside table.

“No,” Kai said again, he can’t do this. He can’t do this anymore. “No more please! I can’t do this anymore!” He shouted as he closed his eyes but, the memory wanted him to see.

Naoko wanted him to witness how her own sister had killed her.

Sachiko saw through Naoko’s plans and outwitted her by releasing one hand from her sister’s throat then, grabbing the steel vase. She took it upon herself, through all of her anger, grief, and jealousy. Sachiko’s eyes darkened as she held the vase up high and with all the strength that her sorrows gave her: the very idea of her own beloved sister leaving her to marry their own cousin

She had to make sure that Naoko would never leave her.

“No!” Kai’s voice was hoarse as he saw Sachiko bash her own sister’s head with the steel vase Yet, she didn’t hit her once. Another at her head, twice then her aim faltered as she struck at Naoko’s jaw and throat a couple of times out of anger. The force was nearly enough to knock Kai out as well.

But that was thing.

The horrible thing that no matter how much pain he would receive in reliving these memories is that he would still be awake through all those pains.

He closed his eyes, somewhat glad that the memory stopped. That he no longer had to endure the pain yet, why was his head still throbbing? What did it hurt so much?

He opened his eyes and realized that he was now in an enclosed space. In front of him was a small light, almost as though he was in a coffin but, he was sure he wasn’t.

‘Help ’ He heard right beside him.

Kai’s breath hitched, and his entire body trembled.

He knew he had to face this, knew this wouldn’t end if he didn’t end it himself.

“Help me please ” The voice was in so much pain and in such close proximity to him.

Kai cried once again as he slowly and shakily turned his head.

Besides him was a pale whitefaced Naoko with her face caked in blood as she stared at the light Kai was looking at earlier. “Someone Help me

Nao was buried alive with Sachiko not even making sure that she had finished the job before hiding her own sister’s body under the floorboards of her room.

Kai woke up with a scream, still crying from the memory he saw as he quickly pulled his hand away from Naoko’s bones. The raven scrabbled away on all fours, trying to escape the room, escape the memory, escape every single emotion and pain he had felt from it.

But just then, he had heard it. “Saga!”

That wasn’t the redhead’s voice but, Kai knew that the name wasn’t from the past and it sounded all so familiar. He ran, ran away from the room and ran away from the pain just to save Ruki.

“Ruki!” He shouted as he saw from the library room Ruki and Byou trying to hold Saga away from the redhead. But his shout distracted them both and Saga was quick to wrap his hand around Ruki again even with the duo trying to hold him back.

“Freeze!” A man shouted behind Kai. He looked behind him, shocked to see that there was suddenly a policeman in the area.

Everyone looked to the man, but Kai wasn’t about to be distracted as he quickly ran to Ruki’s side. In that moment, Saga’s interest shifted, and he seemed to run towards Kai—

“I said don’t move!” The man shouted once again, and he fired his gun

“Ruki!” Kai cried in relief, “Oh my god, what did he do to you?”

“I’m alright,” Ruki answered quickly as he pushed Kai away. “Saga! No! Don’t!” He shouted as he tried to stop the brunet from getting killed by the police.

“Don’t move!” Two of the policemen said and when Saga started to run towards them again in his bloodied state, looking at the men in bloody murder one of the authorities didn’t hesitate in shooting a bullet to his chest.

“No! Saga!” Ruki shouted with Tora shouting the brunet’s name as well as he came to his side but, quickly stopped when the police told him not to move.

“We’re harmless!” Tora told the men as he lifted his hands up in compliance.

One of the men took out his communicator. “This is Sora, we have three men here, one down shot by an officer over.”

“What are your names?” The other officer Takashi inquired.

“Tora, the two are Byou and Ruki.” He gestured behind him.

The officer Takashi kneeled down to Ruki and assessed his injuries. “I’m gonna need you to send over paramedics here.”

As soon as Takashi stopped talking, something banged on the wall.

Everyone stopped and searched around, the officers readying their guns again and in a flash, the broken mirror in the corner close to the library door fell. The officer close to Byou and Ruki gestured for his partner to check it out as he was the closest.

Sora approached the fallen mirror; behind it was some sort of secret compartment. They heard shuffling from the inside and with a swift move, he opened the compartment to find a person.

“Nao…” Tora stated as his eyes opened wide at the revelation. ‘Saga wasn’t lying.’

“Sir, are you alright?” The policeman asked as he tried to help Nao out of the compartment. “Oh my god.” Takashi exclaimed as he saw beside Nao bones of a dead person. He quickly took hold of his communicator. “Code Eight, I’m going to need medical support here fast. We have two injured civilians and possibly two dead bodies, I repeat two injured civilians and possibly two dead bodies.”

They were escorted out of the mansion afterwards, the injured Ruki and Nao being taken into special consideration seeing as both of them seemed to have been caught the most with the supposed killer Saga.

“I can’t go out yet,” Byou suddenly reasoned out as they were being led out to the backdoor of the mansion. They had to reroute as there was a sudden blockage at one part of the hallway and Tora, the owner of the mansion, said there was no other way to exit the house faster than going to the back instead.

“We have a protocol to keep all civilians out of the area for your safety.” The officer told him.

“But, I still need to look for my mother!” There was a sudden strength in his voice as he spoke to the officer. Now that there were many of them together in a group, the blond felt less afraid and braver; coupled with the fact that these men had guns with them to protect him he now knew it was easier to find his mother.

“Your mother?” There was a sense of worry in the officer’s features.

“Yeah, Tora said that he saw my mom come over to the mansion yesterday and she’s been missing since then! I need to find her and make sure she’s alright!” He continued off, leaving off the words: ‘That’s the only reason I came along here!’

The other policeman cleared his throat as he opened the door of the backdoor garden alongside Tora. “Sora, I think we’re going to have to keep them away from the body.” He called out to his partner.

“Body? What body?” Tora asked in shock.

How many more dead bodies were they going to see tonight?!

“Sir,” Sora said as he tried to escort Byou away from one area of the garden. “If you’ll come with me please—”

“No wait, what’re you—” Byou tried to struggle away but, what he says made him go pale with both anger and grief. “Get away from me!” He shouted as the blond escaped from Sora’s grip and he sprinted towards the body that laid dead close to a bush or roses. “No!”

Byou knelt to the ground, not believing the cold body of his dead mother. Her eyes were bloodshot and wide open, mouth slightly open as she looks as though she had been paralyzed by fear first before, being taken by death.

“No, no, no, no!” Byou screamed as he held her in his arms but, was quickly being pulled away by the two officers.

“Sir, you need to leave this area now!” The policeman, Takashi, said as he grabbed a hold of Byou’s abdomen to get the man away.

“That’s my mother! Let go of me! Let go of me!” Byou struggled all the way to the streets as he was forcibly carried out by the men to where others were waiting.

“Byou!” Jin shouted to his boyfriend as soon as he saw the blond who was being harshly pulled out of the mansion. “What’re you doing to him?! Byou what happened?!” Jin inquired in panic but, as soon as Byou saw him the blond could only hug him tight and cry in his arms.

“She’s dead! She’s dead!” He told in pain.

“Oh my god.” Jin said. He was too late. He should’ve called the police sooner. This was all his fault. He should’ve known better. “I’m here Byou. I’m here.” He tried to calm the other down as he gently patted the other’s back to comfort him.

Ruki watched the couple yet couldn’t bear to see more. There were more things to do and as he, Kai, and Nao were escorted to the ambulance nearby to be checked out by the paramedics he held Kai’s hand, glad that the nightmare was over.

“You’re going to be fine.” One of the paramedics told Ruki as they checked his neck. “You’re going to have bruises but so far, your throat doesn’t seem fractured. I’ll still recommend getting it checked on x-ray for safety measures.”   

The redhead nodded and said his thanks to the paramedic before the man moved. Ruki’s attention was on Kai this time. The raven had been so quiet the entire time as they left the mansion, yet his grip on Ruki was strong. There was a certain tremble every now and then that Ruki felt.

“Are you alright?” Ruki inquired calmly, voice low and slightly hoarse.

Kai shook his head no, still looking terrified and pale, yet he was putting on a brave front in public. “I saw it, Ruki. I saw how Nao was killed.” He admitted, his entire body shaking at the memory. “It was horrible.” He cried.

Ruki shushed him, gently cupping Kai’s cheek with one hand as he led the raven to look in his direction. “I’m sorry you had to see that.” Kai placed a hand on Ruki’s own and for some odd reason, it felt odd. It was like something was off with Kai’s body temperature.

He felt cold.

“Why didn’t any of the paramedics even check up on you?” Ruki sighed in annoyance. “You’re cold as ice. You must be freezing.”

“Who are you talking to?” Tora came in front of the redhead to check up on him. But, was starting to feel a bit reluctant when he had seen the other talking to practically no one… It was starting to creep the raven out.

“What?” Ruki replied back with a question as both his and Kai’s attentions were now directed to the intruder of their conversation.

“You.” Tora started again, slowing his words down a bit. “You’ve been talking to the empty space beside you for some time now. Please don’t tell me you’re seeing some other ghost outside of the mansion, because I can’t deal with another haunted being right now.”

“What?” Ruki could only repeat his question but, now with a different tone to it. He looked to Kai, then back to Tora and back to Kai again whom he was still holding in his hand. “Kai.”

How could he have not noticed?

That bullet that shot Saga earlier, it should’ve gone straight to Kai when he was running towards the redhead.

“You and Kai can communicate telepathically?” Tora inquired with an arched brow. This whole psychic thing was really out of his league; he should probably let it rest for now before he passes out from the overload of everything. “Never mind, don’t answer that.” He sighs. “I just came up to check on you. When you’re feeling better the police have some questions for you.”

“Will do,” and with that Tora nodded, turning away before Ruki caught his attention again. “Tora wait,” He called out, making the raven arch his brow in question. Ruki cleared his throat; it was hard the next words he was about to say. “Tell the police to check Byou’s apartment.”

There was a puzzled look on Tora’s face. “Why? I mean, they would probably check up on it later anyways—”

“Just.” Ruki cut him off, not wanting to explain any further. “Just do it now please. It’s important.” He quickly adds. ‘I don’t want to go there and see Kai’s body myself when I get my things, better for the police to get them for me.’

Tora looked at him skeptically. There was a look of desperation in Ruki that he didn’t have the heart right now to decline him. “Okay, I’ll tell them now.”

“Ruki, I—” Kai started.

“You have to let go.” Ruki told him. “You can’t do this Kai, I won’t let you. I’m sorry.”

“No, it’s not true.” Another wave of rivulet tears escaped from Kai. “Ruki, no.” He denied it, holding Ruki’s hand with both of his and he trembled in disbelief.

It couldn’t. It wasn’t.

He wasn’t dead.

“I’m sorry, I’m sorry.” Ruki apologized. How had he not realized?

He placed his other hand on Kai’s cheek, wiping away the tears with his thumb. “Let go Kai, remember.” His voice was calm, or Ruki was trying at least to make it sound calm even when he was stuttering from disbelief.

Even in death Kai came to his side.

Kai closed his eyes, remembering his death.

It was when the spirit had come into Byou and Jin’s apartment. He remembered being thrown harshly into the walls. He struggled against gravity itself that the entity seemed to have control as his body felt heavy and he sat on the floor.

In that instant, Saga broke free from his bonds and he remembered. He remembered looking up to Saga who had that sinister smile on his lips and eyes that looked dark and menacing. Kai quaked under the memory, reliving the pain of the weight of gravity in his entire body and Saga’s hand on his neck.

He snapped Kai’s neck with one hand.

Kai sobbed, holding onto Ruki for strength.

“I’m here.” He heard Ruki’s voice, pulling him out of the painful memory like he had done so many times when Kai had to see spirit’s painful deaths. This time though, it was his own death that Ruki pulled him out of. “It’s over now. I’m here. I’m safe. You can go now.”

“I don’t want to, not yet Ruki, not yet.” Kai pleaded.

“You have to.” He said gently, trying not to give in because he knows what would happen if he doesn’t let Kai go. “You know what happens. I won’t let that happen to you.”

“But Ruki—”

The redhead hugged Kai. “I’ll be safe. You can move on without any worries.” Ruki whispered to his ear. “I promise you. Everything’s alright now.” He smiled, strained but he knows he speaks of the truth.

It was over now.

Kai nodded, biting his lower lip as he listened. This would be the last thing he would do for Ruki, so he needed to do it. This would be his last request.

“You know you were always my first.” Ruki chuckled. “My first apprentice, there’s no one like you. It’s going to be difficult without you.”

“Don’t say that, I don’t want you to be alone.”

“I won’t.” Ruki lied. “You don’t have to worry.”

Kai was fading, slowly and surely his being was being taken away. “I love you.” Kai kissed his forehead, the last thing he needed to do and say before Ruki lost touch of him and he vanished into thin air.

“Shit,” The redhead gritted his teeth, letting his head fall to the palm of his hands as Ruki hid himself from the world for a brief moment to mourn for Kai.

“He’s been talking to himself for a while now.” Tora said after informing the authorities of checking out Byou’s apartment. He stayed close to Nao afterwards. Nao had been missing for an entire day, only for them to find out that he was hidden behind the mirror that Saga said took him. The mirror that had a compartment where one of the original body of the Ogata twins was kept.

He glanced to Nao, watching him space out as he hugged the jacket close to his body. “Are you alright?” he asked gently.

“I can’t believe this is happening.” Nao answered in a monotonous voice as he looked up to Tora.

To Tora, those eyes looked both lifeless and pleading.

Pleading for something.

“I’m here.” Tora said as he wrapped Nao around his arms. “I won’t leave you.” He said to try and comfort Nao. “I’m your brother now, we’re family so I won’t leave you ever.”

Yet, they both know they wouldn’t be able to see themselves as such ever.

A week later after the police had finished investigating and finding clues on the murders in the manor, they still had to file the Ogata twin’s death as a cold case for now as the killer is still unknown. Yet, prints of Sachiko were randomly scattered at Naoko’s burial and a cousin named Ogata Kazumasa’s prints were found on Sachiko’s body at the compartment.

News of the autopsy reports gathered from the recently deceased Kai and Byou’s mother, traces of Saga’s fingerprints were evident on their necks that suggested they were choked to death by the him.