Four Years Earlier:
I watched him walk through the office, collecting his things. Everyone had said goodbye yesterday, we had all came here.
For this last time though, I wanted him to myself.
It was the most surest thing I had felt. Even though, Naru had straight out rejected my confession to him. It was just like him to do that, to make me feel as if I was not in control.
Naru liked control. For the most part.
"Is there something I can help you with?" His voice was clipped. He stood impeccably still as he watched me from the door.
I willed my legs to move. The realization that this could be the last time I saw him was weighing on me. "You'll have some interesting stories for the SPR in London."
He sighed deeply, "I don't find pleasure in discussing work matters." Indigo eyes peered at me. "What do you need, Mai?" impatience tested his tone.
It was probably because his flight would be soon, no doubt. I stepped closer to him and he towered over me. He always had, but this time…it felt different.
"Please, don't leave me."
It has been four years since SPR disbanded. Everyone went their separate ways. I had tried to keep in contact with my old colleague and friends, but we slowly grew more distant.
Last I heard, Ayako became a full-time doctor at the hospital her parents worked at. Bou-san had started to focus on his band, which means that he started travelling more frequently. Yasuhara had been accepted into Law School, so he was fairly busy during the semester season. Masako continued appearing on T.V. and was taking part-time courses in University for Parapsychology and Research. John had an interesting dilemma. He ended up going back to Australia to officially become a full-fledged exorcist. After, he obtained a work visa to come back and do his pastoral work under Father Toujo.
As for myself, things after SPR were...difficult. After High School, I spiraled. Actually, it was more during the last year of High School, soon after everyone started to grow distant. I took a year off when I graduated because I felt utterly...in despair. And lost. Everything I had was gone. My family, friends. Naru. I had suddenly lived in a bleak and dark world that year. It didn't help that my 'gift' was a constant reminder of everything I had lost.
I hated my powers in those years. I wished I didn't have them. They made everything worse, everything was so much more heightened and I thought...maybe I would end up on the other side too one day. My depression was diagnosed after a nightmare, so livid, woke me up and the only escape I thought of was to press a blade into my skin. It helped relieve the physical pain, and made me focus. I wanted so badly to just be the girl I used to be. But I couldn't find her anymore.
Cutting was shameful. Those feelings of hatred and despair were overwhelming.
After being assessed, I was put on heavy medication. Aside from other common side effects, the pills had temporarily blocked my access to astral project. They had pretty much blocked my ability to be a sensitive esper.
But, that's when things started getting better. Shortly after, John reached out to me and had mentioned that Father Toujo needed help at the Church. I accepted the job, since it gave me something to do. Things started to get better, I started to feel better. That girl who had died was slowly coming back.
She would never be the same though. But, at least I no longer lived in that black world.
That fall, I enrolled in school - in the Department of Education at a local University. It had felt like the most right decision I had made in a long time.
Chapter 1: Should I Let You Go?
There was a jarring sensation that startled me in the night. I sat straight up, panting and scanning the dark room for danger. My heart was hammering in my chest and a clammy feeling stuck to my back, slicking down my spine like sweat.
From being tied to a lab table stained in the blood of countless victims.
A small whimper escaped my lips, before it swelled into a full on scream when something grabbed my arm.
I was blind. Frantic and instinctive fear slammed into my gut. Urado's horrible voice was in my head.
'I'm coming for you.'
Light flashed on. Someone's face came into view - Lucien. I gasped a sigh of relief, but it came out a strangled breath.
"You're okay, Mai." He sat back down on the bed, stroking my sweat-laden back. "You're okay."
I shuttered against him, leaning into Lucien's bare and warm chest. My cheek touched his flesh.
Skin on skin.
This was real. Not that horrible nightmare.
Not those horrible memories.
I hadn't had a nightmare of my SPR days for at least a year. It made no sense, why they would be happening now. Was this a relapse? That's impossible...I had been on the pills and they were supposed to numb that side of me.
From beside me, Lucien fell back asleep quickly. He was a former colleague of mine, turned boyfriend just this year. He had known about the depression, helped me through the previous bout of nightmares.
Besides that, with his cropped brown hair, golden skin and hazel eyes, Lucien was the furthest person in appearance from…
I couldn't even say his name. It felt like my flood gates would be ripped open thinking of him.
Slowly, I rose from the bed, trying not to wake the male beside me. Lucien was already graduated with a Physiology Degree. He was currently working at a psychiatrist firm and would stay at my apartment some nights. He worked the early morning shift and my condo was close to his office, which made for an easy commute. Besides that, I didn't mind his company.
I padded to hallway bathroom, and splashed cold water on my face. The water dripped from my bangs and I stared at my reflection. My brown eyes had hallow purple marks smudged under them, probably from the lack of sleep. Usually my eyes were a rich, chocolate brown but tonight they looked black.
My hair had grown, and I liked keeping it shoulder length now. It was enough for me to manage without needing to fuss over it.
From within me there was a...low and painful ache. It felt like something had tied a rope to my spine and pulled. The nightmare was over, but I couldn't shake that feeling of...remembering. I didn't want to remember.
There was a drawer with a blade was around the corner of the vanity. Reaching into it, I grabbed the razor blade.
From beneath my shirt, my waist and hips were scattered with scars. Scars that would forever remind me of the things I lost. Of how broken I was and no matter how many antidepressants I had, I could never stop.
The cutting helped me focus. It had been my only form of release that I found worked to help me focus on the physical. I flinched as I swiped the blade across my skin, over and over. Now, real blood stained my hands as I leaned over the sink when I was done, breathless.
I had felt so lost and broken without SPR. Without...him.
I lost my "family", my job, my friends and my passion.
I had nothing left except all these memories... I hated them. I hated every single second of them.
And, I hated...him for what he took from me. Even if he didn't know it.
I didn't get much sleep so I decided to put my restlessness to use and made breakfast for Lucien.
He strolled into the kitchen, still shirtless from the night before. "How're you feeling?" Lucien went straight for the fresh pot of coffee I had made. I didn't mind coffee, had liked it with some sugar. But, it was too strong for me and I much preferred tea.
"I'm fine," I lifted a cup of green tea to my lips and took a sip. "Must just be feeling off."
Lucien rounded the small table I had, taking the seat beside me. "Want me to spend the night again?" He dug into his eggs and toast I had just prepared.
"I have to work tonight, so I'll be home late."
Hazel eyes met mine. "I'll pick you up, how about that?" Lucien smiled at me, and I thought I would melt. "I'll pick up dinner on the way too."
I felt a smile tug at the corners of my lips. "Thank you."
The children at work were wild. As always. They were unruly but that's what made looking after them so much fun (and sometimes a headache). Luckily, it was summer break for me. This was last summer before school, since I would be graduating next semester. Father Toujo was kind enough to give me as many hours as I needed to help with school, rent and bills.
Even though I worked at the same church as John Brown, I did not get to see him often. He was usually on cases, or doing home visits. The gentle, blue-eyed man was the only connection to the SPR I had left. It was both good and bad that I didn't see him often. It reminded me that I had to live one day at a time.
I finished up cleaning the playroom the children had just left. It was lights out now, and the Sisters of the Church were busy tucking everyone in.
There was a creak in the doorway, and I glanced back to see Father Toujo. "Good evening, Mai."
"Good evening, Father," I bowed to the polite older man, who had speckled grey-brown hair.
"You have a visitor," he smiled at me. "He is waiting in the lounge."
"A visitor?" I asked confused and the Father nodded.
"I can take care of this, my dear. You shouldn't keep him waiting." He insisted.
I thanked him, and immediately began walking towards the lounge. It was strange, since I had told Lucien I wasn't off until after lights out. Maybe he just wanted to let me know he was here. I opened the door of the room.
"Lucien, you didn't have to come so early -"
I hardly expected to see the man who was standing in front of me.
I froze in the doorway. Sound stopped coming out of my mouth as I gazed in shock at my visitor. He stood on the far side of the room, gazing out the window and into the night. Slowly, indigo eyes met mine.
Naru looked exactly the same. His short hair was cropped around his neck, black as a raven's feathers, contrasting his pale skin. And those eyes...how could I ever forget those eyes?
He turned in one fluid motion, his hair shifting. Naru still preferred dark clothing, he wore a black button-up shirt despite the heat. Black pants clung to his legs.
"Hello, Mai." He said as he stuffed his hands in the pockets of his pants. As if it had only been yesterday since we last saw one another and not four. lonely, dark years. Gracefully, he walked towards me.
My tongue was dry and heavy. "What do you need, Davis-san?" I wanted, so badly, to say his old nickname. Had almost let it slip off my tongue. I couldn't though because it was too painful.
He stopped two feet from me. Distaste and surprised flashed through his eyes for a moment before he composed himself again.
"I've taken a special assignment in the area and am looking to get the original Tokyo SPR on the case." He said, his voice deep and concise.
I couldn't believe what he was saying, what he was implying. I found my own voice, "If I may be so bold, Davis-san, but how're you supposed to get six strangers to agree to work together again?" I eyed him. "You can't just come here to toy with everyone."
There was a flicker in his jaw, "Does that mean you will not be joining?"
What an arrogant male. He hadn't even formally asked me. I crossed my arms, "I want the other members to join first. I won't make my decision until they have agreed to do it."
From the sparkle in Naru's eye, I could tell he was mildly intrigued by the challenge. "Duly noted."
Naru would no doubt be able to get the team together. From the glint in his eye, I could tell he found the challenge exciting- thrilling. Just like the old days, where I would always challenge him. If there was anyone who could do it though, bring back the team, it was Naru.
He moved towards me, towards the door. Just as he passed, Naru looked me in the eyes, "I'll keep you updated, Taniyama-san."
The formalities felt distant and strange. I suppose I had started it. But still…
It hurt more it should have.