Here you go Peeps! Chapter three is finally here! Hooray! So sorry for the delay! Here's a cookie for all of you loyal fans that waited! Hope this was worth it!
I Can't Explain
"I've wrapped myself up
in a universe again
and let the darkness quell
my matchflame confidence
and unwillingly I hide
the lever I must find
to release the deep
the tears withheld inside
but I can't explain
I can't make sense of the
Things I'm saying
the crystal tears
are sliding down again
your moonlit cheeks
and soaking silken lips
if this pain is so real
there's a hand that someday must heal
and give us the words
that time steals and won't let us say"
It was strange. It hardly seemed like any time had passed, despite the fact that so much had happened. Although, despite even that, he felt everything was different and new, like so much had changed while still staying the same. The boy, well, he should be called a man now at the age of whatever it is, had left for long periods like this before, but never before had returning ever felt so… unusual.
He walked the busy streets of the city, feeling oddly happy to be back in Japan, it was nice to have gotten away for a while, though it had been longer than he intended and though he didn't particularly show it to any passerby, he was excited to see his… well there was no denying it now, they were his friends.
Turning the key in the lock, it came to him as a mild shock to find his all familiar office covered in dust. Though he knew he should know better, he had been gone eight years after all, and there was no reason for anyone to be here. Actually he would be more suspicious if the place was clean, although, that would be just like Mai to keep the place ship shape while he was gone.
Naru found his thoughts wandering to that of the woman. It was true, he hadn't kept in contact, but he never felt the need too. He was too busy the past eight years to bother anybody with idle chatter and seeing as he needed to concentrate, he had disconnected his phone and cut off any forms of communication so as not to be hindered in his investigation. It was obvious by this point, that he wasn't going to meet with some happy people.
As this realization hit him completely, he rubbed at his temple. "Lin, start clearing some of this dust off, I have some phone calls to make."
Lin gave the younger man a slightly annoyed look before nodding and leaving the room to gather cleaning supplies.
After wiping the dust off the phone, he picked up the phone. Upon hearing the dial tone, he was happy to find it still worked. Dialing the numbers he had never forgotten, he waited for the ring. He made sure to call Masako, seeing as she would be the most upset. After listening to her shocked and rather blunt tone he told her good bye and dialed Mai's number.
"This number has been disconnected and is no longer available…."
Now, this really shocked him. What had happened? He hadn't expected this, perhaps he had misdialed?
After retyping the numbers, he hit talk but then was greeted again with the same automated message.
"Mai…" he murmured, hanging up the phone.
After a moment of thought he picked back up the receiver. Dialing Ayako's number he waited for her to answer.
She was speechless for a moment upon learning that it was really Naru. She took a deep breath before totally blowing up. Naru held the phone away as he waited her to finish.
"Ayako, I need information." He said once she had quieted down.
"Of course you do, what is it Naru," she said in an exasperated tone.
"Mai's number changed; do you have her new one?"
She was silent for a moment and Naru could almost feel the tension building on the other side.
"Let me talk to my husband…" she said.
Naru was taken by surprise at the statement, but decided this was not the time to ask questions. He was on a mission and had a goal in mind; there was no point in straying.
"We'll let her know you're back," Ayako finally said after several minutes of silence.
"That's not what I asked for!" Naru growled, slightly flustered, but the click on the other end was followed by a solid tone, signaling the cutoff of connection.
Now he was in a foul mood and he called up Takigawa's number.
"Hey Naru," he said upon answering.
"That was a rather calm reaction," the younger man replied, mildly suspicious, well more of confused.
"Yeah, well I got all my shock out a few minutes ago with Ayako," he said, a shrug in his voice.
Dawning passed over him in a wave, but his features didn't show it as he blankly watched Lin clear the dust.
"Then she's talked to you about Mai," he said.
"Yes, but as Ayako said, don't worry about it Naru, we'll tell her for you."
"That doesn't answer my question," he said, hiding the annoyed tone in his voice.
"Sorry Naru, there's not much I can do," he said, in an apologetic voice.
Naru sighed and rubbed at the bridge of his nose briefly. "I understand, good bye." He said, listening to the responded good bye before hanging up.
He still had one more chance. Picking up the phone he dialed John's number.
"Hello?" Came the answer in a sort of groggy tone.
"John, I need to get a hold of Mai, do you have her number?" he asked, skipping formalities and getting straight to the point.
"Who is…. Naru? Is that really you?" His tone piped up and became more energetic.
"Yes, now, do you have Mai's number?" he asked again.
He listened as a clatter echoed from the speaker, followed by a scuffling sound and a distant female voice. He heard John's whispered tone before he got back on the line.
"Sorry about that. Um…I don't have Mai's number with me right now, but if I find it I'll get back to you," he said in an almost too cheerful tone.
Naru bit back a sigh, he should have known that John wasn't going to be that easy, he wasn't stupid, he knew he was being lied too.
"Alright thank you," he said.
"No problem, is the group going to get back together soon then?" There was a hint of hopefulness in the young man's voice.
"If a case comes up and I need your assistance, I'll call for you," he said, it seemed the six years hadn't changed the exorcist all too much.
"Oh, all right, Nice to have you back Naru," he said, disappointment in his tone.
"Yes, good bye John," he said before hanging up.
He collapsed into his chair, which Lin had cleaned off by now, still annoyed as ever.
Naru was still caught up in his own thoughts to care. Did they think that these past few years away had made him thick? They should know better to try to hide something like this from him. It was apparent that they didn't want him to find Mai, or perhaps it was Mai that didn't want to be found? He refused to believe that and he was far too stubborn to give up.
Hooking up the machine, he flipped it on and after logging in and waiting for the computer to load up and immediately dove in to his research. He had far more resources due to his profession and it only took him a matter of minutes to happen upon a document that stopped him in his tracks.
Lin noticed and came around the desk to see what was displayed up on the screen. A marriage document joining Mai Taniyama and a man named Alan Becker. Placing the tea cup in front of him, the older man gave him a look that asked what he was going to do about it.
Naru stood, seeming not even noticing the heated and steaming beverage. "Finish up in here, I have something to do." He hit a button and the document disappeared, briefly showing an address before he closed that down too.
Turning off the screen and walked briskly out of the room a sort of concentrated disbelief in his eyes as he left the building.
It took a little over half an hour, walking at the pace he was, which was a little under an upbeat jog, to reach the quaint little home. Naru was mildly surprised that she still lived so close and was just approaching the building when he saw her.
Her hair was longer but she was just as radiant as ever. Radiant? When did he ever think of her that way? He shook his head, that wasn't important right now what was important was the hope that was building in his chest, no matter how hard he fought to keep it down. There was no man with her.
That means nothing. He told himself but that fluttering only continued to grow as he watched her tuck her hair behind her ear and grab the groceries from the back seat.
"Ma-" he started, raising a hand, but a cry cut him off and his chest was crushed under a 500 pound stone.
Two girls came running out. "Momma!"
Mai turned; a bright smile on her face. "Hey you guys, how was your day?" she asked, wrapping them in her arms before heading inside and closing the door behind her.
And with that, Naru returned to the office.
Well I hope it was worth the wait, again I apologize for the wait, here's another cookie. This chapter was really hard to write because nothing much really happens action wise and I had no clue what to write... Thanks Angel for the help and the inspiration! Not too fond of the last line either... I really wanted it to be epicer, (because yes, that is a word now), but at the same time I think it's very Naru, so please tell me what you think! Angel's up next! She has the epicer chapter with Mai and Naru meeting again! Enjoy! (Oh and P.S. I apologize if there was slight out of characterness, but I put that up to the fact that they're all eight years older...)