Warning: This story contains spoilers for the Here is Greenwood OAVs up to and including The Phantom of Greenwood. In addition, some of the dialogue used has been taken from Tonghyun Kim's translation of that episode, though obviously these are not the events exactly as they occurred in the OAV.
Disclaimer? I don't own Here is Greenwood . . . I just wanted the episode to end differently. ^_^
by !Super Cat
Misako of Musashino Seika Girl's School stood centre room, a pretty young dead girl wearing sandals and a white dress. "I'm not asking that much," she was saying. "I just want to kiss Ikeda-kun."
"Misako-chan, please do so," said Kazuya Hasukawa, stepping forward immediately on Mitsuru Ikeda's behalf.
Mitsuru pulled him back. "Forget it," he said.
A murmur of disappointment came from the small crowd of boys who had gathered in Mitsuru's dorm room.
Shun whispered loudly to Kazuya, "I suspected all along she was a girl whom Mitsuru-sempai played with and then dumped during his Junior High years."
"Cut it out," said Mitsuru. "I don't even know her. I never saw her before this week. I wish I'd never seen her at all," he added. Although he liked to think he had a responsible and patient nature, Misako's appearance today in the boys' shared bathing area had been the final straw.
There was a dangerous silence; Misako's blue eyes filled with tears.
"Don't make her cry!" said the video boys, in quick unison. "He's sorry, Misako-chan! Please take pity on our dormitory and don't short circuit the video games or cause them to reset from level twelve, which cost several thousand yen to achieve."
"I'm haunting Ikeda-kun, and I'm not leaving," said Misako, stubbornly. "He's the person I'm haunting. I'm not leaving the person I'm haunting. I'm not leaving until he kisses me."
Shun sighed. "Mitsuru-sempai's misfortune with girls has finally reached its peak."
Kazuya begged him, "Mitsuru-sempai! For the good of the dorm!"
There was a chorus of agreement. Misako and the boys stared across at Mitsuru who studiously ignored them for as long as he could.
"Ano," he said finally, spreading his hands. "How am I supposed to kiss her when she's a ghost, and we can't even touch each other?"
Misako-chan blinked wet eyelashes. "It's easy," she said.
"See? It's easy!" two of the younger boys prompted Mitsuru.
"I can possess someone with strong psychic potential," Misako said.
"Strong 'psychic potential'?" said Mitsuru, sceptically.
Shun turned to Kazuya. "Who does she mean?"
The boys shuffled and murmured amongst themselves. Surely, was the whispered consensus, no one psychic lived in the dormitory. But Mitsuru remembered the person who had first sensed Misako's presence, and it wasn't long before the memory prompted his unwilling mind to the truth.
There was one person in Greenwood who had psychic ability.
Shinobu pushed himself away from the wall.
"She means me," he said, softly, casually, coming to rest opposite Misako. His school uniform was as neat as always, his arms folded; his expression detached, not quite superior, but certainly removed and unimpressed.
The entire room fell silent.
Mitsuru, stomach sinking, turned to stare at his roommate. Immediately, he wished he hadn't. Shinobu's gaze, green and heavy lidded, was provocative at the best of times. Mitsuru felt twin spots of colour spring up on his cheeks. Shinobu's expression didn't alter, though slender brows arched in mild response to the bright blush.
"But I won't do it," said Shinobu Tekuza.
"Shinobu-sempai," said Shun. "You must do it, for the peace of the dorm!"
Shinobu's gaze was precise in its reply. Shun closed his mouth.
Kazuya however, had suffered badly from Misako's hauntings, and was not so easily dissuaded. "Misako-chan," he said to the girl. "Quickly! Possess Shinobu-sempai!"
"I can't," said Misako sullenly. "I can't enter him. He's guarding his mind."
"You've outstayed your welcome," Shinobu said. "Your dream will not be realized. Misako-chan, it's time for you to leave."
Misako-chan dug her heels in; Shinobu gazed back at her impassively. They made bizarre adversaries, and Mitsuru couldn't help but feel a little piqued by their stand-off. He hadn't expected the effete Shinobu to reject Misako's suggestion so readily. In fact, he'd been confident that if anyone was going to turn down her proposition, it would be him, not his elegant best friend.
Misako lifted her chin. "I'll cry," she said.
"I'm sure you will," said Shinobu.
"All right then," Misako said finally, tossing her golden hair in childish
defiance and vanishing into the light from the sun.
Silence, and thirty boys shuffling uncomfortably in the doorway. Then Kazuya found his tongue. "Eh? Shinobu-sempai! This is no way to deal with the ghost! We don't have a solution! What are we supposed to do when she comes back?"
"She won't be back," said Shinobu, smoothly.
"And how do you know that?"
"Why don't we bet on it? Ten thousand yen."
Kazuya paled. Shinobu-sempai's betting victories were the stuff of legend.
"Don't call me that," Kazuya said instantly. "Okay, so I don't know what you did, but if you say so, she won't be back. And in that case. . .we owe you our thanks, Shinobu-sempai."
There was a belated chorus of "Shinobu-sempai!" and "arigatou gozaimasu!" from the crowd, then with lifted spirits, the boys filed back to their studies.
Mitsuru remained standing mid-room. The moment the door shut, he found himself on the receiving end of that unnerving, barely tolerant gaze.
"Did you exorcise her?" he asked Shinobu.
Shinobu took a step forward, minutely shaking his head. "She's still here."
"But you said--"
"I know what I said. She's still here. Your female admirers aren't easy to get rid of."
Mitsuru was craning his neck to look around the room. He didn't see Misako. Anywhere.
"Mitsuru. She's still here. The only way to exorcise a ghost is to sever its link to the physical world."
"Isn't that what you did?"
"What! Why not!" said Mitsuru, helplessly pushing his blond hair back from his face. "She's been haunting me now for a week. A week! Do you understand what that means? I haven't been able to wash, get changed, go to the bathroom--"
"Misako-chan is haunting you because of her dying wish," Shinobu explained. "To exorcise her, I would have to grant it, Mitsuru."
"So grant it!" said Mitsuru, instantly. Then, "Uh. Oh. You mean the dying wish to--"
Shinobu said, "Yes, exactly."
"Listen, Shinobu," Mitsuru began.
Misako materialized cheerfully in the centre of the room.
"Hello!" she said. "My name is Misako and I'm the ghost of a cute and charming junior high school student who had her whole life ahead of her but was killed by a bus before she could achieve her dream of dating the most popular guy at her school."
"I don't even go to her school," Mitsuru was saying, his head in his hands. "She went to an all-girls school."
"But Ikeda-kun," Misako said, "you're so handsome, and popular, and you're the captain of all the sports teams."
"And the head of Greenwood dormitory," agreed Shinobu.
"My dying wish was to kiss someone like you," said Misako.
Mitsuru looked from one to the other. "I--You--No," he said firmly to Misako. "You can't kiss me, you're only sixteen. Also, you're a ghost, and I'm a human being. It's impossible, since not only are we an unsuitable match, we can't touch each other."
"But Ikeda-kun, now you know I can possess someone with strong psychic potential--"
"Shinobu," Mitsuru interrupted her, his eyes closed in complete confidence, "won't let you possess him. Will you, Shinobu?"
When Shinobu didn't immediately agree, Mitsuru's eyes opened again.
"Will you, Shinobu?" he prompted.
Shinobu Tekuza said nothing. He just waited, with slightly narrowed eyes and a calm expression on his face.
Mitsuru took two steps back. "No," he said instantly. "Oh no. No. No way. No. I won't do it," he added, in case the rest had not sunk in.
Shinobu gazed at him, evenly.
"Shinobu, she's a ghost, and you're--you're a--"
"No! Well yes, but that's not--not--"
Not it, exactly. For the sake of peace from Misako's hauntings, Mitsuru knew he would be willing to put aside personal preference and kiss any one of the boys of the dorm. Shun, or the video boys, or even Suka-chan.
But not Shinobu.
Shinobu was untouchable.
You did not brush against him casually, because his personal space was impossible to intrude upon. You did not touch him in comfort, because he never required comforting. You did not offer him your hand in aid, because there was no task he ever needed help with. He was the aloof and effortless perfectionist. Handsome and poised, he never attempted anything but that he was sure to excel at it.
And no one touched him. He was above contact. It was that simple.
"Not what? Surely you've kissed girls before," Shinobu said.
"Of course I have!" Mitsuru said.
Shinobu said patiently, "Kissing a girl in a boy's body will not be that different to kissing a girl in a girl's body, Mitsuru."
"I know that, Shinobu!"
Mitsuru set his jaw, and didn't answer.
"He's afraid of you," said Misako.
Shinobu absorbed this. "Afraid of me?" he asked, turning. His brows arched, but he didn't sound as though he cared, particularly, one way or the other.
"I'm not afraid of anything!" Mitsuru blurted, reacting to the tone. "I think you're a pervert! And I don't care what you say. I'm not going to do it!"
And then he froze, and wanted to bite off his own tongue.
Meeting Shinobu's eyes was almost impossible. When he finally managed it, Mitsuru found himself flinching, Shinobu's gaze hitting him like a hard slap to the face.
"Pervert," said Shinobu softly.
"I didn't mean--"
"Yes, I think you did."
"I'm no shy virgin, Mitsuru. If I had feelings for you, I would have confessed them long before now."
"That wasn't what I--" Mitsuru found the words aborting on his lips. That wasn't what I was thinking? But that was exactly what he had been thinking. What some smug, deeply hidden--perhaps even unconscious--part of him had always thought. It was the assumption everybody made; they saw Mitsuru, the blond, violet-eyed hero of the sports field, and they saw his best friend Shinobu, who didn't seem to like girls, and they immediately thought that he--that he secretly--
And it wasn't fair, Mitsuru thought spitefully, that here he was stuttering, and blushing, while Shinobu stood there, his brows arched only a fraction, because nothing ever rattled his calm.
Shinobu's sigh of speech was almost a yawn. "Please finish your next sentence, Mitsuru."
"You're enjoying this," Mitsuru accused.
"I'm indifferent," said Shinobu, amending, "No. I'm leaning more towards Misako's part. Your life is not the only one to have been disrupted by her haunting. I want her exorcised."
The reply was precise and composed. Shinobu did not look uncomfortable.
Of course Shinobu did not look uncomfortable. Shinobu never looked uncomfortable. Shinobu never looked anything but handsome, bored, and coolly at ease.
Mitsuru swallowed. "So you--want me to do it?" he said.
"I'll let you do it," Shinobu agreed.
As if that were the same thing.
Mitsuru held eye contact for a moment longer but finally, frustrated, looked away. It was pointless trying to divine Shinobu's feelings from his expression. There were no chinks in that smooth armour. The search for one had driven Nagisa mad.
"All right," Mitsuru said, seeing little alternative. "For the dorm. Let's get this over with."
There were no spells or incantations. Shinobu simply closed his eyes, and allowed Misako to push into his body. Misako was absorbed instantly; Shinobu opened his eyes again, and they were no longer green. Instead, they were unnaturally blue.
"Oh," he said. "I've never been this tall."
"Shinobu?" said Mitsuru, slightly concerned.
Shinobu looked over at him with wide eyes. "Ikeda-kun?" he said.
"Misako-chan," realized Mitsuru, in an entirely different tone of voice.
"Mm," nodded Shinobu, now staring down at his fingers, and flexing them, and then looking back up.
Mitsuru watched him uncomfortably. Misako's mannerisms were cute and distinctive. They didn't suit Shinobu at all.
"Do I still look pretty?" Shinobu asked him, curiously.
"I--Shinobu's very handsome."
"Whatever you say."
"Aren't you going to kiss me, Ikeda-kun?"
"Yes," Mitsuru said, determined not to lose his nerve.
But he was seized by a strange double vision: Misako, her blue eyes gazing at him earnestly, and Shinobu behind her, arms folded, vastly unimpressed. Mitsuru closed his eyes, and the figures blurred in his mind.
"You're hesitating," complained Shinobu, Misako's petulance weaving its way through his voice.
"I know. I--" Mitsuru broke off. "It's just--this isn't like you," he said lamely. "I mean--this isn't like--"
"This isn't like Tekuza-kun, who doesn't help people often," Misako said, her inflection dominating Shinobu's voice.
Mitsuru's skin prickled. "Yes," he said.
"That's it. Exactly." He remembered
Shinobu's willingness to abandon Akira-kun, a boy from a neighbouring school,
to a night spent trapped at the bottom of a dug-out construction pit.
"Why should I help you?" Shinobu had said to the wailing Akira-kun.
"You're the one who fell. Try hard enough and you'll be able to climb
out yourself. Probably."
"But," Misako said, "you're his best friend. So, he's helping you."
Mitsuru's mouth went dry. He turned away and shook his head. "Gomen nasai, Misako-chan," he said, "I know that you wanted to kiss a handsome and popular guy before you died, but like you say, Shinobu is my best friend, and I think after all, this really isn't--" But he only had a moment to himself, before the warmth of a body pressed in behind him, so close he could feel the flicker of breath at his shoulder.
"You are afraid of me," said Shinobu softly, into his ear.
Mitsuru spun to face him, his heart suddenly racing. "Shinobu?"
"You have to kiss her, Mitsuru. The haunting has to end."
"But you don't want to," Mitsuru said, his eyes raking over Shinobu's face. "This--it's ridiculous. You don't want to do it, and neither do I!"
Shinobu's didn't say anything in reply, but his gaze had a characteristic edge that meant he didn't have to.
"What?" demanded Mitsuru.
In answer, Shinobu reached out and trailed a deliberate touch down Mitsuru's chest. Mitsuru flushed hard at the contact, and then harder, when he realized that Shinobu was watching his reaction carefully.
"Mitsuru," Shinobu interrupted, without inflection, "don't waste my time with objections that are obviously untrue."
And before Mitsuru could think to protest, Shinobu drew closer and leaned in to kiss him.
Of course, they had been friends for years. It was absurd to say that in all that time, they had never touched one another. They collided on the sports field often enough, as school officials constantly paired them in opposition, knowing Shinobu was the only student at Ryokuto High who was equal to Mitsuru's ability. Then, there had been that series of mock-caresses last summer, designed specifically to give Suka-chan a nose bleed. ("Shinobu, I wanted to be alone with you. . ." And Shinobu's exquisite murmur answering him, "Stop that. Suka-chan's showing the whites of his eyes.")
But rarely. And never when they were alone. And never, ever like this.
Mitsuru jerked away, but he realized almost instantly, and to his own shame, that his reaction to the kiss had been only a minor, skittish reflex. His heart was still hammering, but he had not broken free of Shinobu's relaxed grip.
"Nervous?" said Shinobu.
Shinobu undid a button of Mitsuru's shirt, and slid his hand inside. Mitsuru's stomach clenched tightly.
"Nervous?" said Shinobu.
Mitsuru flinched instinctively back from the suggestion of a second kiss that followed.
"You're not the shy type," said Shinobu. "It's only the idea of playing Yoshiki and Fujikake with me that makes you nervous like this."
"I'm not nervous."
"So desu ne," said Shinobu, the words a murmur, soft and derisive.
Rather than argue, Mitsuru swallowed and closed his eyes, and when he felt the next slight face-to-face nudge he parted his lips and he forced himself to stand still and let Shinobu kiss him.
No big deal, he thought. It's only a kiss, he thought. How
bad can it be?
Strange--he clung to the word, though the feeling of strangeness was threatening at any moment to transform into arousal. Mitsuru couldn't help it; he was being kissed by Shinobu, and he was heating slowly, his pleasure mounting and settling distinctly between his legs.
It wasn't fair.
Shinobu had never, in all the years Mitsuru had known him, had a girlfriend--or a boyfriend--or pursued anyone romantically. He should have been a little awkward. He should have been inexperienced or, at the very least, out of practice.
It was typical of Shinobu. While most of the students at Ryokuto High spent their evenings studying and their mornings revising, Shinobu, who never seemed to do any schoolwork at all, always topped the class.
The kiss ended, but not abruptly, and neither boy moved back.
"You've done this before, haven't you," Mitsuru said under his breath; he pressed his thumbs down hard into Shinobu's flesh. "With who? Another guy?"
"With no one," said Shinobu. "You'll be the first boy to ever kiss me, Ikeda-kun, just as I dreamed before the misfortune of the speeding truck."
"Misako-chan," said Mitsuru, almost angrily. Responding to an impulse that he could not name, Mitsuru pushed Shinobu backwards, steadily. He was more than a little surprised when Shinobu accommodated, like a calm-eyed mannequin, giving ground until he hit the edge of the desk in the centre of their room.
"This was your idea," Mitsuru disclaimed. He took Shinobu's face in his hands and held him still, kissing him hard enough to bruise his lips. He felt the small shudder as Shinobu allowed Misako to fully assert her presence in his body.
"I--Ikeda-kun--" Shinobu said, but he seemed willing despite the hand he raised in protest to Mitsuru's chest, and the kiss resumed, the heat it generated breaking like a wave over them both, subsuming even Misako's girlish responses into a more aggressive passion.
Shinobu was pushed up onto the desk; he had to brace himself with one hand so as not to end up flat on his back. Mitsuru bit at him, no longer thinking. There was a splash of pencil and papers, as school work shoved to one side hit the floor. Misako-chan's wish was granted--
--it was like holding a spark that suddenly blazed out into a forest fire. Mitsuru's wrist was caught immediately in a painful grip. "Mitsuru," Shinobu said, and his voice was as calm and soft as ever, though huskier now, issuing from some point deeper in his body. "This is no way to treat a sixteen year old girl."
"Misako's gone. You know it. She's been exorcised."
"Then," Shinobu said, against his lips, "you can let me go."
Mitsuru pulled back. Instantly. He was breathing unsteadily, dazed with stymied arousal, but you didn't argue with Shinobu when steel like that entered his voice.
He was too unbalanced to think as far as, What just happened? or What have I done?
The desk had been pushed out of place. Pages of trigonometry problems were scattered over the floor. Mitsuru moved a few steps to the bunk bed, gripping the post behind him. Risking a glance, he saw that Shinobu appeared to have regained all of his formidable composure. How did he do it, Mitsuru wondered? How? The thought took on some urgency as his own body's demands refused to ebb.
"She has gone," Shinobu said, softly, perhaps unnecessarily, nodding once to himself.
"Was--was there any doubt?"
"Yes. She wanted to stay," Shinobu said. "She thought you were very attractive, though she was a little surprised that you were so . . . " He paused, and Mitsuru found himself the object of a lazy, speculative look. "Forward."
Mitsuru said, "Shinobu, I--"
Gomen nasai was the only thing Mitsuru could think to say.
He said it.
Shinobu just glanced at him. "At least now,
for the first time in a week, we can have a bath without worrying about
Misako-chan floating around in the water. It's a relief to me that
this is all over. Your kohai are bad enough when they are
Mitsuru slid his plastic tray onto the table and took the seat next to Kazuya and Shun. Kazuya was slumped over his luncheon; he barely reacted to Mitsuru's presence, although he did raise his arms a little, instinctively, to better guard his plate of fries.
"What's the matter with him?" Mitsuru asked Shun.
"His grades, his stomach ulcer, Sumire-san and my confusing appearance," said Shun. "He's just realized how unfortunate his life is."
"Really? That took him a while," said Mitsuru.
"Why don't you shut up," said Kazuya automatically.
"Suka-chan, don't be hostile towards your sempai," said Shinobu, arriving with his own lunch tray.
"He has really developed a disrespect for the seniors in Greenwood dormitory," agreed Mitsuru.
Kazuya said, "Well, whose fault is that!"
"So, Shinobu-sempai," said Shun, swinging his legs and leaning forward, elbows on the table, to get Shinobu's attention during this exchange. "Are you going to tell us the secret between you and Mitsuru?"
Shinobu went perfectly still. "Possibly," he said.
"I'd rather hear the secret of Suka-chan's nose bleeds, such as the one he got when he hugged Sumire-san," Mitsuru said, to cover the infinitesimal pause.
Shun shook his head. "Nuh-uh. That's not what the whole dorm is talking about. The whole dorm is talking about the secret of how Shinobu-sempai exorcised Misako-chan."
Mitsuru said, quickly, "You all saw him exorcise her. It happened in our dorm room. He exorcised her while you were there."
"Mitsuru-sempai," chided Shun, "you don't fool me. All Shinobu-sempai did while we were there was tell Misako-chan, 'Go away'. If it was that easy to get rid of spirits, there would be no need for the world to have exorcists. Isn't that right, Shinobu-sempai?"
"That's right," agreed Shinobu. "After all, Mitsuru told Misako-chan,
'Go away' in the bathroom on the first day."
"As Suka-chan is so gracious," Shinobu said, turning to Shun and speaking with easy quiet, "I'll admit to you that I did have to kiss Mitsuru to get rid of her."
Shun's mouth fell open. "Sempai!"
Shinobu continued, "Unfortunately, one thing led to another, and although the exorcism was a success, Mitsuru's trigonometry homework was thrown into disarray, and I still have a deep bite-mark on the back of my--"
The scrape of chair legs against floor interrupted Shinobu. Kazuya had fled the table, a paper napkin clamped to his face.
"Oh, look," murmured Shinobu. "Suka-chan has a nose bleed."
Reaching over calmly to steal one of Kazuya's abandoned fries, he said
to Shun and Mitsuru, "So, you've learned one secret from me today, anyway."