Yu Yu Hakusho Fan Fiction ❯ It Begins ( Chapter 4 )

[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]
Thanks to Nepheara, Slayer of Bitches, and HigherBeing for reviewing! C:

Also, because I wanted to keep this fanfic set in the 90’s, and as I’m not a poet, when I chose to have a character write a poem, I used the lyrics from a more modern song. I just wanted to let you know that I don’t own “Rule the World” by Take That.

Here are the links to the fanart I promised:
http://oi48.tinypic.com/24az60n.jpg
http://lustfulcr imsonsin13.deviantart.com/art/Spirit-Cords-Hakumei-Issei-Sketch-dump-345911 898?q=gallery%3Alustfulcrimsonsin13%2F24248302&qo=4
http://papersta rlight.deviantart.com/art/Hakumei-Issei-341373431?q=in%3Ascraps%20sort%3Ati me%20gallery%3Apaperstarlight&qo=0

***

Nothing good happened when the world quieted itself to her, and Hakumei was losing her mind. The bugs were following her to school. A dozen of them were hanging out on the front gate of Narau Elementary, and Hakumei insisted on walking the kids inside despite Ai and Ayame’s complaints about embarrassing them. They were easy to ignore because she could hardly hear. There were only two sounds that came in loud and clear—a distinctive, purposeful step clicking amongst the clumsy, muted stomping of the crowd, and the buzzing of monstrous insects that no one else could see.

While the girls walked as far ahead as they possibly could from their nanny, Daisuke kept stride with Hakumei. He looked up at her, frowning when she jumped at nothing and swatted the air. She finally took to clutching her skirt to keep her hands busy. Daisuke’s frown deepened. He stopped walking and crossed his arms over his chest.

“You’ve been acting strange all morning,” he said. “Tell me what’s going on.”

Hakumei turned, struggling to hear him. Daisuke was tapping his fingers across his elbow, something he did on the rare occasions when he got impatient with her. He wanted an explanation, but she still working on one for herself.  She chewed the inside of her cheek for a minute before kneeling down to his level.

“Sorry, I’ve kind of been having an off day,” she said. Her own voice sounded distant from her, soft.

Hakumei rolled her eyes when Daisuke huffed.

“I wasn’t finished, Dai,” she said. She tried not to yell. Just because she couldn’t hear herself didn’t mean he couldn’t hear her.  “I’m not really sure why, but I just have this bad feeling today.”

She reached out for Daisuke’s hands and he took them. “Like?”

She ran her thumbs over his knuckles. “Honestly it’s probably nothing. Sometimes I just get a little paranoid, and I don’t want to scare you or anything just because I’m overreacting.”

“You didn’t scare me!” Daisuke said quickly. Hakumei smiled as he continued. “But… if you’re not overreacting?”

“Well,” she said. “If anything out of the ordinary happens, anything at all, don’t think twice about getting somewhere safe, okay?”

***

“Don’t look now, Dai, but I think you like-like a nutcase,” Ai said when Daisuke joined them inside. She watched Hakumei turn the corner around the gate and disappear into the crowd.

“Crazy,” Ayame sang.

“I don’t like-her-like-her!” Daisuke fumed. “Come on, Hana.” He grabbed his sister’s hand and stomped toward class, but Hana dug her heels into the tile outside the door. Daisuke looked over his shoulder. “What gives?”

Hana shook her head. “We shouldn’t go in there,” she said as Ai and Ayame caught up to them.

“Hey, she said something smart for once,” Ai said. “If only Sis were here to take a picture.”

“She’s not dumb,” Daisuke snapped.

“Whoa, touchy,” Ayame put up her hands to calm him down.

Hana stared up at the classroom door, unblinking. She took a step back. “We shouldn’t go in,” she said again.

“Okay, if Hana wants to play hooky, I’m down,” Ai said.

“We can’t just skip class…” Daisuke said slowly. I just have this bad feeling today… “It’ll make Hakumei look bad.”

Ai shrugged. “So?”

“Yeah, making her look bad is, like, my favorite pastime.”

“That’s because you’re obnoxious, Ayame,” Daisuke said.

Ayame stuck out her tongue, spitting through the gap in her front teeth. Ai laughed. Daisuke snorted in spite of himself, but stopped when he noticed Hana’s expression. Eyes wide, mouth open.

“Guys, Hana doesn’t look so good…” If anything out of the ordinary happens, anything at all…

“Let me see.” Ai shoved Daisuke aside and peered at her youngest sister’s face.  She pulled on Hana’s cheeks, stretching them this way and that, squishing them in until Hana’s lips stuck out like a goldfish. “Yes,” Ai said, tapping her knuckles on her chin when she was done with her inspection, “Definitely sick.”

“You think we should take her to the nurse?” Ayame said.

“No way. The nurse would just send the rest of us back to class. I say we hide out in the restroom.”

“Yeah, that’s great for you three, Ai,” Daisuke said. “What am I supposed to do? I can’t go into the girls’ room. It’s full of cooties! I could die.”

“Better just you dead than three of us. We can’t go into the boys’ room either,” Ai said.

“Oh ha ha. Besides, if she’s really sick then making her hide in the restroom all day will make it worse.”

“You could just go to class like a good boy,” Ayame said. “Sis would be so proud—”

Hana pointed down the hall. A young woman in a pink sweater and sensible shoes stumbled down the hallway.

“Ms. Miyake?” Ai said, squinting.

Ms. Miyake’s freckled skin was a sunken shade of gray. Her mouth was open and drooling, exposing a neat line of braces over newly sharpened teeth. Red eyes shook in their sockets before plunging down like lead upon the children.

“Uh—” Don’t think twice…

She roared and ran toward them, tripping over the crude jerking of her legs.

Ayame screamed as Ms. Miyake swung at her, but Daisuke pulled her out of the way. Ai was already ahead of them with Hana as they sprinted down the hall.

“Where!” Daisuke panted behind her.

“The foxhole!” Ai said over her shoulder, “This way!”

“Foxhole?”

“The playground,” Ayame said, tearing up. “You can dig away the sand and crawl underneath. A foxhole.”

***

Hakumei found herself tapping shoulders on her way to school. The streets were alive with labored breathing and shrieking traffic, but the sound of it was muffled into the background of the elegant click of dress shoes gliding across the pavement, and the insects.

With all the disjointed movement of the people she passed, the clicking was a constant metronome keeping time for the smothered city orchestra. Occasionally she heard the buzzing creep near her, but she kept her eyes forward, stumbling as the listless people bumped into her. If only she could go faster, she’d be safely within the confines of the school gates before they caught up to her, but traversing the crowds in Japan was like wading through packed sticky rice.

Hakumei tried to push down the panic, to swallow it whole and forget about its rancid flavor, but she felt, deep within her core, that she was being followed by—a rush of fabric, the swish of cloth in the wind. Hakumei looked up in time to see the ghost of a shadow hover over the rooftops and vanish.

That was no bird.

She bolted, knocking people over in her paranoid rush to get to safety. If they cried out she couldn’t hear it. This was crazy, she knew. Insane. Invisible bugs? Stalked by a boy she ran into in the street yesterday? Now she was seeing shadows fly across a sunny sky. Not to mention the hush that had fallen over the world.

No matter how she tried to reign in her imagination, it kept sweeping her away. She hadn’t had an anxiety attack like this since she was small, and trying to quiet her pumping heart only thrust it harder against her ribcage. She needed to lock herself in a restroom stall until rational thought could regain control.

She hurtled herself through the next block. There were still some students milling around the courtyard as she burst through the school gates. Apparently the first bell hadn’t sounded yet, but Yusuke was already on his way out. When he saw her running in, he stopped.

“Hey, Issei.” He sounded like he was in a library, not like he was about to skip class for the day. “How’s it going—”

She flew past him. She needed to get inside, to safety. The bugs had thinned out, and the clicking had faded, but the only way she would be sure was if she had a door to hide behind, a quiet place to bring herself down from her heightened state of panic. When she was little, her doctor told her to think things through logically until the feeling passed, and her hearing would return to normal, but she couldn’t talk herself down until she found somewhere safe to do it, where she wouldn’t feel exposed to whatever threat she imagined was looming over her.

She felt better as soon as she got inside to change her shoes. Her panting slowed as she pulled at the laces of her boots, hands still shaking. Logic said that it was highly unlikely that the redhead would follow her all the way into the shoe lockers, if he was following her at all. Each of her steps got louder as she climbed to the second floor. He definitely wouldn’t come all the way up here. Yeah, that’s right. Just think logically. When the first bell rang, she heard it loud and clear as she walked into the classroom. Keiko was arguing with her partner, Goro Oboro, in the corner.

“It’s not the poetry that’s not working. It’s… well, it’s you,” Keiko said, rubbing her eyebrows.

Ouch.

“What do you mean it’s me? I write amazing poetry. Just look at these lines! They’re perfect,” Goro said. He was attractive, in a bookish sort of way—skinny, with shaggy black hair and blue contacts.

“I just said it’s not the poetry. Much to my surprise, the poetry is actually beautiful,” Keiko said, exasperated. “You just can’t read it like that. It’s boring. There’s no passion.”

“Well, you seemed to do pretty well reading Heart of Darkness for the class the other day. Why don’t you read it then?”

“Because,” she said, clipped. “I’m the only one of us who knows how to work backstage. You have to either learn how to do all of the technical stuff before the show, or learn how to read with more feeling. To me it seems like reading with more feeling would take. less. effort.”

Wow, Keiko was really losing her patience with this guy. Usually she handled things with such poise. Hakumei cleared her throat and they looked up from their dispute.

“H-Hakumei,” Goro said, slightly pink. From being called dull in front of an audience, she assumed.

“Hi,” said Keiko. “We’re just talking about our project.”

“I can tell,” Hakumei said, as she walked over to them, fiddling with the hem of her shirt. “Is there something I can do to help…?”

Keiko looked at Goro and he nodded vigorously. She handed Hakumei the poem. Looking it over, she mouthed the words to herself. It was titled, “Rule the World.”

You light the skies up above me,
a star so bright you blind me.
Don’t close your eyes,
don’t fade away, don’t fade away.

You and me, we can ride on a star.
If you stay with me, girl, we can rule the world.

Hakumei’s mouthing became humming, she was already searching out the tune from the rhythm of the words. Something soft, longing, a little sad, but powerful… They planned to rule the world with this love of theirs, after all. The lyrics were a little sappy for her tastes, but at least they were succinct and straightforward. All in all a decent love song.

If walls break down, I will comfort you.
If angels cry, I’ll be there for you.
You’ve saved my soul,
don’t leave me down, don’t leave me now.

A song. Now there’s an idea. What’s more expressive than music? That ought to solve their problem.

All the stars are coming out tonight.
They’re lighting up the sky tonight for you, for you.

Hakumei looked up. Keiko was smiling, already catching on. Goro looked like it was too good to be true. “Have you considered writing lyrics, instead of poetry?” she asked.

“Consider yourself hired!” Goro said, jumping out of his seat to shake her hand.

“Huh? No, I didn’t mean to imply anything. It was just a suggestion—Will you stop that?” Hakumei pulled herself away from Goro, who was thrusting her entire arm up and down with his eagerness. He coughed, excusing himself.

“Well, why not?” Keiko said, leaning against the desk. “You were going to sing for your project anyway. Why not hire us to write a song for you? I’m sure Kuwabara wouldn’t mind.”

“And we can hire you to sing our song for us, killing two birds with one stone,” followed Goro.

“So Goro makes this poem into a song,” Hakumei said, handing the paper back to him. “I come up with a way to sing it, and do the performance, and you and Kuwabara work backstage?”

Goro nodded, “I just know your voice will give this the classical touch it really needs to thrive. It’ll be amazing!”

“Classical?” Keiko asked, glancing at Goro. “Hakumei’s only ever sung pop songs during club.”

“Yes, she sings that drivel in club, but when she’s practicing in private—”

“Wait, how do you know what I sing in private?”

“It doesn’t matter. All we have to do to make this work is get the okay from Fujiwara and Kazuma,” Goro said.

“Actually it does matter,” Hakumei said. Was he hiding out watching her rehearse after club or something? That’s creepy.

“It doesn’t,” Goro said.

“Leave the teacher to me. I’m sure it won’t be an issue,” Keiko said. She appeared to be too busy calculating project details in her head to notice their argument. “Besides, it would give us an excuse to hang out outside of school like we talked about.”

“No, it really does—you mean, like, friends?” she said, turning to Keiko.

Keiko quirked an eyebrow, “Yeah, of course we’re friends.”

***

The kids burst through the door leading to the playground, a vast expanse of slides, bridges, tunnels, swings and jungle gyms to tickle the fancy of every little kid in school. Their running slowed across the sand, but Ms. Miyake was struggling behind them to get the door open. They moved faster.

Ayame was crying as they followed Ai behind a plastic tunnel to the base of one of the slides, a big yellow thing that spiraled down to the ground. There was a small hole where the sand dipped under the level of the first stair. Daisuke started digging immediately.

“Come on, Ai,” he said, ushering her through. She shimmied through the opening and slid down to the bottom. Hana followed behind her.

“Ayame, hurry up,” Daisuke said.

The doors slammed shut with a bang. Ms. Miyake was outside with them.

“Daisuke,” she sobbed. “What if she finds us? What’s wrong with her?”

“I don’t know, but she really is going to find us if you don’t get in the hole,” he hissed, pulling her down and stuffing her into the foxhole.

Chains clinked together as Ms. Miyake stumbled around the swings. And Daisuke scrambled down, curling up with his sisters in the sand. Ai had a hand over Ayame’s mouth, tears soaking her bitten-down fingernails. Hana started pushing sand up, trying to block the way out so Ms. Miyake wouldn’t discover them, but Daisuke pulled her back with a finger to his lips.

Hana curled into his side, shaking. Ayame pulled away from Ai and threw herself into Daisuke’s lap. His shoulder was soaked with tears in minutes. He looked at Ai and held out his hand. She started to reach for it, but stopped herself with a determined scowl.

The slide shook above them and Ai jumped, huddling into Daisuke’s other side. He wrapped an arm around her as she took Ayame’s hand. Ms. Miyake’s shadow filtered in through the gaps in the wood planking. They watched the monster move above them through the floor, hair standing on end, frozen.

A bead of sweat dripped down Daisuke’s forehead as he stared, eyes wide with terror, into the possessed face of his teacher.

Karaoke
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