Disclaimer: I do not own Ghost Hunt.
Stages of Love
Stage I - The Realization & The Doubt
The roses had started wilting.
Naru was not happy, so speculated Lin, who had mastered the art of recognizing subtle changes in his expression. Moreover, he kept staring at the roses kept in a vase, on his desk. He hated things other than files on his desk. On sudden realization that he was being watched, Naru shifted in his chair and raised his eyes to meet Lin's. Lin didn't need any more cues to avert his suffocating gaze. He coughed slightly - an apology in his style.
"We could just go back." He suggested after much of a pause.
"I don't know what you are talking about." Naru answered, his eyebrows quirked.
"You never know what I'm talking about." He said.
He watched Naru rise to his feet from the corner of his eyes. He was obviously under control, but something was bubbling inside him. Whether it was love or anger, Lin didn't care. He couldn't care less about the subtle changes in his behavior. He didn't want to care; he just was waiting for the time to come when he would burst, unable to control the lingering feelings that he still holds for a certain person.
Lin watched Naru put on his coat, hesitating for a second. He reached for the knob slowly.
"You might want to carry an umbrella." Lin offered.
"Typical weather." He muttered under his breath.
"We can always return to scorching summers in Ja-" Naru slammed the door as an answer to his suggestion. Lin sighed and went back to his typing.
Unknown to Lin, a soft smile tugged at the ends of a certain narcissist's lips.
The roses had turned black.
Naru was sitting at his desk as usual. He had no job since he had returned to England for his brother's funeral. Much to his annoyance, his father had restricted him from working at the S.P.R, saying that he was worn out. Maybe it was true. Maybe he was worn out from all the unfortunate events that had happened to him.
A knock on the door woke him up from his sublime thoughts.
"Mail for you, sir!" A cheerful voice greeted him.
"Get it Lin." Naru ordered, not wanting to part from his extremely comfortable chair. With an exasperated sigh, Lin collected the mail from an overly cheerful mailman and handed it over to Naru.
A sudden feeling of ecstasy fired through him as he read the address on the package. He opened the package rapidly yet neatly and reached for the small box in it. Opening it carefully he eyed it's contents and chuckled. A soft change in his expression, his eyes becoming warm as he held the box in his hands. Lin eyed him as he saw Naru shuffling through the contents. He smiled. Mai couldn't have given a better gift.
The box contained a whole bunch of pictures of the members of his S.P.R, mostly of riveting Bou-san with his undeniably funny poses and Mai. He noticed the other members too, but he cared to fix his attention on only one.
He slowly brushed his fingers over the outline of her face, smiling softly. Lin noticed the act and coughed, bringing Naru back to reality with a jolt. He glared at Lin, who pursed his lips, completely irritated by this dumb act of his.
"We can always return to Japa-"
"Shut up, Lin." He muttered.
Ignoring the disrespectful tone, he went back to his wife - that is his laptop and began typing with a vigor born out of irritation, anger and tenderness for the narcissist and his object of affection.
The roses were crumbling.
He noticed that he needed to get them off his desk, but he couldn't. He wondered what kept them chained to him. Sighing, he picked up the vase, removed the roses and headed to dispose them off.
"Are you sure?" Lin asked, he was slightly taken aback that he had finally decided to throw away something he had cherished for so long.
"What?" He retorted.
"It's nothing." Lin smiled.
Those roses had been lying on his desk for a few weeks. These few weeks might have been too excruciating for him. Naru had no will power to overcome this sudden violent feeling of - he left it at that. Lin did not need to think anymore. He was almost pleased with Mai's little trick of persuasion by sending those pictures. He wondered why he wanted to throw them all of a sudden.
After all Mai was the one who had given it to him.
He smiled wondering if she knew the true meaning behind those roses, bluffing with a pure, innocent facade while handing it to him. He wondered if she really meant that it was for Naru, given by the team or was it that she meant just herself, hoping that he would understand. Naru slowly walked back to his desk and stared at the empty vase.
"We are going back." He said laboriously.
"Yes we are." He answered firmly, gritting his teeth as he noticed the sly smile on Lin's face.
Packing the luggage was never difficult for Naru.
He just needed the same pair of clothes. But to Lin's surprise, his wardrobe held a lot more than just the usual clothes. After fussing over what to wear, he finally went to his mother with a rather stoic face.
"I need you to choose for me." He said with a straight, wooden face.
"Why is that?" Luella asked surprised. "Is there someone you want to meet in Japan?"
"Yes." He muttered. Luella noticed the slightly flustered expression that flashed over his face for a second.
"Are you going to-" She paused and made a circle in the air, a metaphor for proposing he guessed. He raised his eyebrows.
"I'm seventeen." He answered, completely annoyed.
"Oh, I'm asking for - later." She asked vibrantly.
"Maybe." He said. "Can we just get to work?"
"Oh! It takes more than just appearance to please a young lady!" She cooed. He stared at her with a rather displeased face.
After an hour or so, Naru was all packed. He was just waiting for the time for leaving to arrive. Luella was rather pleased that her son had finally opened up to her and that he was having lunch with her, instead of having it at his desk, in his room or rather office. Naru sipped the soup slowly, immersed in a train of thoughts. She smiled. Maybe Japan was the best place he could be at right now. She definitely had to kick him out of England if she wished to see her future daughter-in-law or so she thought.
His luggage was already in the car. All he had to do was say goodbye to his mother and his overly fussy father. Before leaving, he brought the vase from his room handed it over to his mother who stared at him, completely clueless.
"Keep roses in it." He said. Lin almost burst out laughing, but he contained it in with just a chuckle escaping his lips.
"Why do you need to leave England?" His father asked, in a final attempt to stop his son from going.
"Because," He paused eloquently, "there are more supernatural cases in Japan than in England." Luella and Lin shared a knowing glance.
"Time to conquer somebody's heart?" Lin said quietly, a question directed at the narcissist who completely ignored him. He got into the car and signaled Lin to get in too.
Maybe a narcissist in love with someone other than himself wasn't that bad at all.
Two weeks had passed since Naru first stepped into his dust-laden office. He clearly remembered telling the members that he might not return to Japan - but this? This was stupid. His whole office was smothered in dust, cockroaches and everything else one fears to imagine in a peaceful home.
His legs rested on the durable mahogany desk, his back bent on his chair and his arms placed restfully on his stomach. He almost dozed off due to the jet lag, something which he felt hard to get over. As soon as he let his guard down, a loud knock resounded on the office door. He rose slowly and opened the door with anticipation, which he experienced for the first time in his life. He almost banged his head against the door when he saw Bou-san enter with a broad smile.
"I knew you would be back!" Bou-san almost spread his arms to hug him but on a second thought he coughed and just ruffled his hair. "N-Nice to meet you, professor Oliver Davis." Naru sighed.
The next time he opened the door it was Masako, the third time he let Bou-san attend to it. Yasuhara and John were next. Ayako came in last. He watched the ticking clock. Gritting his teeth unknown to himself, he wondered if she was not going to come. He sighed for the umpteenth time, which did not go unnoticed by Lin. The others had already starting chatting as if this was a lounge made just for them. He waited and waited and before he knew it, it was already four in the afternoon. He had received a few clients in the time that had lapsed in anticipation. Masako served tea, while he conversed with his clients.
Naru felt uneasy. Did she not want to face him after what had happened? Did she hate him? He took up one of the files and began flipping through it desperately.
A knock on the door and he signaled Lin to attend to the door. He expected another client but the overly cheerful voice shook him by surprise. He almost slipped off his chair but he regained control over his slightly palpitating heart and raised his eyes to look at her. There she was standing cheerfully greeting everyone.
"Mai-san!" John echoed happily along with everyone else. "It is so good to see you again." Naru looked at everyone chatting up to her when he thought about inquiring as to why she was late.
"So how was school?" Bou-san asked.
"Boring as usual!" She huffed.
Naru's eyes were as wide as an ostrich's egg, which he quickly concealed with his hair drooping over them. School! He had completely forgotten that she was a school student!
"I baked cookies for everyone!" She smiled. "Who wants some?"
He looked at her waiting for her to greet him. Waiting for her to look his way - and she did. Her eyes crashing with his, not in a literal way but yes, they did meet. Almost immediately she blushed, guessing that he had been looking, scratch that - ogling at her. She smiled and bowed.
"Naru!" She exclaimed. "Been a long time isn't it?"
He understood that she was extremely shaken by his sudden appearance. She was nervous. Extremely nervous, he deduced. He nodded and went back to sitting on his desk. He was rather calm now and the content in the files seemed to be much easier to absorb. He smiled a little, but it disappeared as soon as he realized that she had noticed him at last when he had been anticipating her arrival for the whole day.
He felt - disappointed.
He wished he could just confront her, ask her if she - he stopped the train of thoughts.
What was it that he was going to ask? Why did he need to ask her? All girls definitely fell for him. He was too good-looking for them to resist. He smirked almost immediately after this thought crossed his mind. If he wished, he could have any girl he wanted. Maybe he messed up the first time, but there was always a second chance. All he needed was to check if she was still in love with him. Almost immediately his heart stopped - still in love with him? She had never been in love with him. She had loved his mirror image - Eugene. How could he possibly expect that she was even in love with him!
Burying his head in his hands, he sighed and a clatter woke him up from his depressed thoughts.
"Something the matter, Naru?" She asked concernedly. She kept the teacup on his desk and placed a plate of cookies beside it. "Ah! I forgot you hated sweet things!" She was about to remove the plate when he caught her hand in his.
"Leave it." He ordered and looked at her expressionlessly.
"O-Okay." She stuttered, her face turning red. He let go of her hand slowly, caressing her skin with his fingers. She was startled a bit, so was he - but he couldn't help it! She was completely flustered by his sudden action.
Naru felt the sudden urge to hold her in his arms. His mouth went dry from just the thought. He almost lost control, but the tea chained him to his seat. He sipped it slowly as he watched her walk away from his desk. He bit his lips and smiled at his inner urges. He already wanted to hold her, but he had to wait. Wait till she completely surrendered herself to him.
The thought made him ecstatic. It was a tough job but he would do it. He would definitely win her over.
He would definitely hold her in his arms one day.
Author's Note: A very short story (using cliche's to death). I combined the first two stages together because I felt that the chapter would end up being too short. Hope you enjoyed the insight into Naru's mind. (Now proofread!)
Leave behind a review and anticipate the next (riveting) chapter!