Caustic Effulgency

Chapter 1: The Finding of the Bracelet

"Hidetsuro! Hidetsuro, get your ass down here and help me clean up this mess!" I screamed up the worn out red-carpeted stairs, fuming at my nine-year-old brother who was currently waving a box of cheerios at me and smiling evilly. He'd stolen said box from me and, in the process, dumped half of it all over the living room. Our parents were going to be home any moment now with the moving truck, and wouldn't they be tickled to learn that their sons had not worked but dumped the world's most delectable cereal all over the floor?

I rushed up the stairs with a growl in my throat, prepared to go tackle my bastard of a brother and physically hurt him until he agreed to help me clean. But just as I got halfway up the stairs…

"Takumi!" I heard my father's booming voice and shot the frozen Hidetsuro a malicious glare before half tripping down the stairs in attention to my father's call.

"Yes?" I came face to face with his almost frightening typical Japanese male countenance.

"Why is there food all over my living room?" He asked in a scary form of voice. I shivered, my usual playfulness seeping out of me like sap from a tree. My father could be very nice and playful, but right now he looked intimidating. "Didn't you and your brother do any work?"

"Well… you know, some aliens came down just as we were getting to work, and they tried to steal our cheerios! So while Hidetsuro ran away, I fought with the aliens, but they overpowered me, and they took them away! But just as they were getting ready to-"

"Stop talking now. Do you have to be so immature always, Takumi-kun?" He asked in a tired and stressed voice. I frowned and looked down at the ground in shame.

"I'm sorry. I'll go finish packing now." I headed up the stairs to my depressing room filled with boxes. I passed Hidetsuro in the hallway and shoved him roughly against the wall just as a laugh escaped his lips. I leaned down to his ear and whispered to his ear:

"You're dead meat, brat." Just as he scampered down the stairs to tell our father, I rushed into my room and closed the door.

We were moving to Kodansha, Illinois. I had been born there, but we had moved to a different part of Illinois when I was younger. My father said we were moving back to the house his ancestors had lived in for many years before him. My mother told me later that he was exaggerating, and it was very little years. Most of their ancestors had come to America directly from Japan.

"We're here, boys." My mother announced from the front seat. I opened my sleepy eyes and stared out the window at our new home. It had an extra bedroom so my father could have an office, plus an extra living room for my mother to decorate.

"Yay!" Hidetsuro jumped out of the car and zoomed right to the door, bouncing on his heels. Our mother laughed at his enthusiasm-a rare sight indeed since she was usually lethargic and only half paying attention to the things around her-and got out of the car herself, taking the keys from our father before she closed the car door and went to let my spry little brother have his roam of the empty house. My father's friend pulled in the driveway right next to us; he was driving the moving truck, now filled with all our furniture.

It took us hours to carry everything into the house and position it in the room where it should be, and by the time we were done, it was dark and my arms were aching horribly. I went to my new room and threw myself down on my bed, staring at the blank ceiling and making a mental note to smother the room with posters. I had all of them in a box labeled 'posters' which sat on the other side of the room.

"Takumi!" Hidetsuro ran in the room with a giggle and a childish jump. "We can go to school soon! Mommy said she has to register us and then we can go to school!"

He must have been the only nine-year-old in the world who was excited to go to school. The thought of school made me want to cry. I'd left behind Hojo Miyuki in my old hometown, and this depressed me. She was the love of my life. Even though I'd never spoken to her and she never gave me the time of day, I just knew-if she had talked to me, even just once, she would have fallen in love with me. I knew it.

"I don't care." I said dryly. He smirked. I hated that smirk.

"You do care! It's kinda silly though, don't you think? Your birthday is tomorrow!"

Oh. Right. My birthday was tomorrow. I groaned and threw my face roughly into my pillow (that had been pulled out of a box that currently resided in the kitchen), letting my hands drape off the sides of the bed melodramatically.

"You're such a girl." Hidetsuro laughed merrily and dashed out of my room before I had the chance to climb up and pound his face in. I growled and stomped over to my door, slamming and locking it before turning around and surveying my room with a wild look. It seemed so sad. These boxes looked like lumps of nothing, holes that were full of voids that swallowed up light. If I wasn't so tired, I might have unpacked-just to get my room looking nice and at least somewhat homely. After all, it was going to be my room for two years at least, so I should probably attempt to make it look good.

Using my sore, aching arms I hunted through the boxes scattered throughout the room until I found a thin sheet with which to cover myself. Even though the nights of May were filled with heat, I still could not go to sleep without some sort of covering. Perhaps this was because I sleep naked. One night Hidetsuro had happened to walk in and he saw me. It wouldn't have been such a big deal if he hadn't been so young and had asked if his was going to stay small too. He probably didn't know any better, but it was certainly mortifying to say the least, not to mention a blow to my almost non existent ego. Ever since, I'd covered myself up. It could be as simple as wearing clothing. Once I'd even asked my parents if they could home school me just so I could keep my clothes off all the time. They'd laughed and told me no, obviously.

Sighing, I walked over to my practically bare bed and stripped off my clothes, tossing them onto the floor. The air was a bit nippy and made me glad I had pulled out that sheet. I yawned with lethargy as I climbed into the bed, ready to sleep the night away. Tomorrow I would turn seventeen, and everyone knows how hectic and fun that age was supposed to be. Well, an infant might not know, and neither would a kid in elementary school, but everyone else would. Probably.

That excitement would definitely prove to be true for me as well.

The next morning was slow moving and almost unreal, like a boring dream or something similar. I woke up to almost blinding sunlight and rubbed my eyes immediately, turning on my side and quite literally falling off the side of the bed. My head hit the floor with a frighteningly loud 'crack', but it didn't really hurt, to my surprise.

"Takumi, are you all right?" I heard my father call through the door. I gasped in surprise-I hadn't expected him to be so close this early in the morning-and gathered my crumpled bed sheets around my nudity.

"I'm fine!" I called to him loudly, looking around for the box filled with my clothes. I hoped to whatever higher power existed that we hadn't put the box in some other room.

"Will you come down soon? Breakfast will be done soon."

"Yeah, I just need to dress." I waited until I heard him shuffled away before I let the sheet drop to the floor. It would be easier to wear clothes to sleep, I know, but I was a stubborn bastard… or at least Hidetsuro said so.

I found my box of clothes, eventually. I dumped the entire thing's contents all over the floor and gathered together what I desired to wear, tossing those clothes onto my bed. Then I let myself bask in the heat of the morning sun, liking the warm feeling. I pulled on my boxers at the same time, smiling at the balmy warmth. It probably looked idiotic, but I didn't care,

"You should really finish dressing." I turned and saw my bothersome little brother standing triumphantly at the door with a bobby pin in his hand. The little bastard! He'd picked the lock!

Just before I could tackle him to the floor and bite his nose off, out family dog, Daisy, ran in and tackled me instead. I cried out in pain as he stepped on me because no matter what anyone says, cotton boxers cannot protect one's pride from the thick claws of a dog.

"Get off me, damnit!" I screamed in exasperation, trying to throw the heavy German Sheppard off of me. Hidetsuro was still at the door, laughing so hard his face resembled a blueberry. The sight would have made me laugh as well if I hadn't been occupied with the damned dog. I finally succeeded in shoving the brute thing off my chest and immediately jumping up, dashing toward my brother and pinning him against the wall with a grunt. He began to scream.

"Daddy! Takumi's hurting me and he isn't wearing pants!" What that last part had to do with anything, I couldn't tell. I had boxers on, at least! But nonetheless, I let him go and walked angrily into my bedroom, slamming the door shut behind me.

-Hidetsuro's POV-

I ran down the hallway to the stairs, giggling all the way. I loved my brother, I really did, but teasing him-especially on his birthday-made me want to laugh. The expressions that he wore all the time were so hilarious! He was so goofy.

"Hidetsuro, you shouldn't run in the house." Mommy told me in a tired voice. Poor mommy. She worked all the time, and this was one of the rare times she got to have 'off time.' We had even moved because of her. But I didn't mind. I loved my mommy.

"Yes, mommy." I giggled and walked the rest of the way to the spacious kitchen, where daddy was preparing breakfast. The air smelled so delicious I wanted to eat it!

"Were you teasing your brother again?" Daddy asked with a wide grin. I gave him the most innocent look I could and shook my head no, making him laugh. "You are too much. You should try and leave him alone."

"Sorry, daddy. I just wanted to help wake him up!" I smiled cheerfully. "He's too moody all the time. I thought if Daisy came in to see him, he would be happy."

"He didn't sound too happy, now did he?" I shook my head. I'd had innocent intentions. I really, really did!

I rocked back and forth on my heels, sighing. He eventually turned back to the food he was making and waved his hand, a signal for me to go play. I ran right past him to the door that faced our gigantic backyard, laughing childishly. Back home we'd had a backyard, but it had been very small. Here it sprawled very far (to me at least) and left lots of play room for me and gardening room for my mother.

"Don't make a mess!" My father called after me as I headed out into the sunny backyard, heading right for a spot I'd picked out the day before. It looked beautiful, and stuck out like a sore thumb to me. The earth looked soft in that area, as if someone had turned it up recently. I knew something had to be there. I had a feeling in my gut about it.

You could find lots of interesting things in the ground. I'd dug up several rings, some money, a piece of glass, a rock, and several plastic jewels in our other backyard. Under mommy's garden I'd even found an earring. I tried to give it to her, but she only yelled at me and made me cry.

I took a shovel from my previous pile-I'd dumped my box of digging tools all over our porch the day before when everyone else was bringing boxes and furniture into the house. I sat down at my selected digging spot, staring at it for a moment in meditation. "I'll find something. I have to find something. And whatever I find… will go to Takumi! Even if it's a really shiny quarter." I laughed and dug into the soft earth, grinning like an idiot.

It felt like hours under the hot May sun. I heard daddy's call for breakfast, and I could smell the yummy aroma, but I couldn't bring myself to move from my spot. I was onto something big, I knew it. A moment later my shovel struck something. I let out a happy cry and let my fingers climb into the dirt. Soon enough, a shiny (but quite dirty) bracelet was wrapped around my fingertips. It looked old, but yet new in some strange way. I stared at it with extreme fascination, liking the way it glittered through the light. It was a very beautiful piece of jewelry.

"This will be Takumi's new present!" I whispered excitedly to myself, dropping the shovel into the hole I had made and running into the house with an excited giggle.

"Daddy! Daddy, look what I have!"

-Takumi's POV-

Even the minutes and hours leading up to my birthday party were uneventful. My parents told me they were going to hold it in the backyard, but apparently Hidetsuro had dug a huge, gaping hole in the middle of the yard and it couldn't be used for now. Instead, they cleared out the second living room and set up a table and chair, and my mother baked us all a little microwavable chocolate cake. My parents set out some small gifts they'd bought for me on that table next to the cake. I was surprised at this; we'd moved in so suddenly, I thought they would have simply made me a cake and that would be the end of it. I mean, seventeen wasn't really a big deal, was it?

"What do you think?" My father asked, gesturing to the small pile of gifts. I grinned and nodded.

"They're awesome." I told him honestly. "But I'm really not sure what to do with them all yet."

"When you can unpack your room everything will just fall into place." My mother told me. I nodded and turned to the table, gathering up all the gifts in my arms and turning to carry them upstairs. For now, they'd have to go in a corner of the room until my furniture was properly placed.

"Takumi-kun, wait!" Hidetsuro stood up from his seat and produced a small newspaper wrapped gift. I wondered what it could be. Sometimes my little brother put his interest in the smallest and most mundane things in the world. For instance, once he saw a penny and he thought he was so rich that he bowed down to the sky and thanked her. No matter how many times I'd tried to explain that a penny was the lowest form of American currency, he wouldn't hear it. He kept the penny and named it 'Tomo.' I think he still had it.

"I got you a present, too." He smiled shyly, that cute and innocent little kid smile, and held the shining package out to me. I grinned at his thoughtfulness-what other nine-year-old would get their brother a birthday present?-and set all my other gifts aside, taking his gift with one pale hand.

It was shiny, I found, because he had put so much damned tape on it. It took me very long to pry it open and finally when I did, I found myself staring at a rather curious looking onyx bracelet. It was made of silver chain, probably real, and held a link to a strange looking charm-a small sword with a thorny rose vine wrapped around it. It looked like a very Gothic piece of jewelry, and this both frightened and intrigued me. It was most certainly an old piece of jewelry.

Just as I was about to snap it around my wrist, my mother came up to my side to look at it. The expression on her face told me she was quite impressed. I smiled at the expression-it was one I hadn't seen in a while.

"Hide-kun, this is a fantastic gift! Where did you find it?" She asked my beaming little brother.

"In the backyard."

"In that big, gaping hole in the middle of the yard?" I thought I heard a note of disapproval in our father's tone.
"Yes." Ah, Hidetsuro had no shame. This would cost him. As I walked up the stairs with all my gifts, I frowned at his punishment. He always got off so easy, but this night… I guess I could forgive him.

This late in the day, my room was relatively clean and unpacked. A few boxes remained, their contents askew all over the deep blue carpeting. I dumped all my gifts onto the bed and kicked the door shut behind me, fumbling around in the dark for the light switch. After it was on, I made a direct beeline for the bed to lift the pretty silver bracelet into my fingers. There was something magical about it, there had to be. I stared at it for a moment longer, wondering in the back of my head if I was ever going to put it on. I wasn't normally one to wear jewelry; the only piece I wore at this moment was a silver ring studded with my birthstone, an emerald. But for this bracelet, I could make an exception. It was a gorgeous ornament, so intoxicating I couldn't take my eyes off it.

"Put it on already, you dork." I scolded myself, my eyes still on the magnificent, shining bracelet. I lowered it slowly over my wrist, half expecting someone to pop out and scare it away from me. I guess it just gave off that supernatural feeling.

I clasped it shut. Nothing happened; no weird things popped out nor did any strange blackness take over my body. I let out a breath of withheld air, laughing at my stupidity and paranoia.

"Takumi-kun!" My mother summoned me and I obediently walked to the top of the stairs. "We're going to get take-out. Do you want to come?"

"No. I want to work on my room." I walked down the stairs a little bit, seeing Hidetsuro putting his dark green summer jacket on. It was darkening behind them, as it was already nearing 9:30.

"What do you want? We're going for Chinese." My father blinked, noticing the bracelet around my wrist and smiling.

"Ano… I think maybe egg foo young?"

"For dinner?" Hidetsuro asked. I nodded, and he giggled. "I want it too!"

"All right." Hidetsuro's hair was ruffled playfully. "Be good, Takumi-kun." They left me alone in the house and I grinned like an idiot. They should have known not to leave a teenage boy alone on his birthday. An urge came over me to blast some Japanese pop music out the window and run around completely naked, but I held it back. I really did need to arrange my room, and left no time for nudity. My posters of Hamasaki Ayumi didn't need to remain in boxes any longer.

I treaded up the warm mahogany steps, my feet feeling like they were roasting. It was swarming with heat in the upstairs. I didn't like this heat. As I got further up the stairs and walked into my room, it became so hot that I ended up pulling my shirt off and tossing it onto the floor among the small pile of yesterday's clothes. I wasn't the cleanest teenage boy under the sun.

I stripped off my pants as well, thinking that with my parents gone, it wouldn't matter if I wore minimal clothing. I leaned down to one of my many dumped boxes and began sorting through all the various things. These were all of my assorted Japanese toys, bought through interest, however minuscule, in a particular show or the look of a character. They all belonged on a specific shelf; that was in another box, disassembled. I moved on to another box when I felt something… weird come over me. At first I ignored it, but then there was a collaborative 'crash' behind me and I turned around.

My eyes drifted at first to my pile of newly acquired gifts that now occupied the floor. Daisy couldn't have done it; she was outside and besides, my door was closed. My gaze slowly drifted up… to touch on a gorgeous female donned in romantic, flowing, ivory white robes that swarmed around her lithe figure and off the edges of the bed. Her eyes were a beautiful sky blue and encased in an almond shape, like mine, fringed by long, thick, black eyelashes that were aimed toward the clean blue carpet. Her skin was ivory pale and completely unbroken, just like a porcelain doll's skin. Her hair was a light honey blonde color, done up in a magnificent hairdo in which large, honey colored curls cascaded down her back to skirt the surface of the bed sheet. She looked like an awe-inspiring angel that was sent to earth to grant me eternal life and happiness and to tell me that my life was going to turn out wonderful.

Despite this, I screamed. Wouldn't you scream if a strange, foreign girl just suddenly appeared in your room?

"Who the fuck are you!?" I screamed, backing away from my bed. The door was still closed. The windows were ajar, but the screens were still in place and unbroken. Where did she come from?

Those striking blue eyes suddenly turned right to me. I let out a sigh, staring deep into the azure orbs. Was she here to seduce me? She was going to pleasure me until I bled out my lower extremities and then she'd turn into the aggressive one, using a few choice sex toys-

"My name is Miyazaki Satsuki." A male's voice said to me. I jumped out of my horny teenager thoughts and let my eyes skirt around the room. Where was this guy now?

"Is something the matter?" The same voice asked. This time, now that I wasn't lost in my thoughts, I could tell it was coming from the girl's direction. A sick feeling arose in my chest and I spun to face her.

"Did you… say something?" I asked cautiously. She nodded, and the horrible feeling grew stronger. The girl-if she even was a 'she'-stood up and walked a step or two towards me. In turn, I backed up those same steps.

"I don't bite."

"Who are you?" I demanded, more firmly this time.

"I already told you. I'm Miyazaki Satsuki."

"B-but Satsuki i-is…"

"A boy's name?" The strange person suggested. I nodded weakly. "I am a boy."

"How the hell are you a boy!?" I shrieked, finding this preposterous.

"Easy. I have no breasts and I possess a penis." He said earnestly. I choked, not expecting such a blunt answer.

"Uh… u-um…" I let my mouth hang agape in surprise.

"Who are you?" He asked with an innocent smile. I backed up a little more and scowled, not sure who he was. He was definitely a guy; as he talked, his Adam's apple bobbed in and out of his throat. But what guy in his right mind would dress like that?

"I-I'm Hakushi Takumi." I finally replied. "Why are you here?"

"That bracelet," He pointed to the pretty silver charm around my wrist. "is why. I'm attached to it."

"Attached…?"

"I'm a ghost." He said. And then it felt like someone had tried to knock me over with a ton of bricks. Was he trying to tease me!? He must have thought I was a fool. How the hell was I supposed to believe such a stupid claim!?

"You're fucking lying! How the hell did you get in here!?" He was crazy. I wanted to call for one of my parents or even Hidetsuro, just to see if they could make this insane man go away. I was really getting scared now. He could do anything to me…!

"I'm not lying." He told me calmly.

"Bullshit!" I hissed. He sighed and held out his hand for me to take. I simply backed up a little and stared blankly at the ivory white hand.

"You don't believe me? Take my hand, Takumi." He shook it gently at me, but I didn't move. I knew he couldn't be trusted.

"Stay away from me." I threatened. For the first time since I'd met him, his face took on a slightly vicious expression. He didn't say anything, but instead reached out and touched my face. Or at least he would have been touching it… if his hands hadn't gone right through it! I screamed and jumped away, disbelieving. What kind of magic could make his hand go through my flesh!? Who was this Miyazaki Satsuki!?

"I told you." He said calmly, narrowing those azure eyes with interest. "I can't touch you, and you can't touch me."

I stared at him strangely. He couldn't have been serious, could he? Slowly tentatively, I reached out to touch his hand. He seemed to understand my fright, and so he didn't move. Our fingers were centimeters apart, and then… they passed right through each other. I yelped and jerked my hand back, but didn't move away this time.

"A-are you some figment of my imagination? An alien, come to take me back to my home planet? A death angel?" I stuttered for some reasonable explanation. Yes, I was the kind of person who believed in imaginary friends and angels and aliens, but the idea of a ghost standing two feet away from me was completely unbelievable. Don't you just love the sheer stupidity that is me?

"If I told you I'm an alien, would you scream?" He crossed his arms across his chest and raised an eyebrow as I shook my head no. "Okay then, I'm an alien."

"Can I go home, then?" I asked, half joking.

"No. They said that you destroyed their city and they're still in the process of rebuilding it. You have to stay on earth forever." He laughed, a tinkle of a laugh. It sounded like a light summer breeze running through tree branches, and immediately brought back childhood memories.

"Aw, shucks." I frowned.

"You don't really believe I'm an alien, do you?" He asked in a serious tone of voice. I shrugged.

"Why not? You said you were."

"I'm not green, though. And I don't have a ray gun."

"But you're a man that looks like a girl. If that isn't foreign enough, then I don't know what is."

"Then are you a man who resembles a woman too?" He asked in the most earnest tone of voice I'd ever heard, even from Hidetsuro when he was trying to get out of a sticky situation.

"What!?" I stared at him incredulously. "Where the fuck did you get that idea!?"

"You said that I was an alien because I look like a girl. Earlier, you said that you were an alien. So that makes you a feminine man too, right?"

I blinked. How the hell could he deduce such a thing just because of one conversation, and a short, fucked up one at that!? He still hadn't told me who and what he really was. I didn't even know for sure if I wanted to know those things anymore.

"Shut up. That's not what I meant." I said coldly, walking deliberately right through him so I could sit on my bed. He remained silent for a moment and began to walk around the room, examining everything.

"Nice boxers, by the way. There's nothing more attractive than a boy in smiley face boxers." He laughed. I narrowed my eyes, jumping off the bed and grabbing my pants up off the floor.

"Why don't you go home already?" I asked irritably, pulling my pants on. He laughed, turning around to lay eyes on me. I growled, reaching behind me to lay my fingers on a pillow. With a quiet grunt, I threw it at the imposing trespasser. To my surprise… it actually hit him! Thinking he was solid now, I went over to him to try and push him up against the wall, but I fell through him and hit the wall instead.

"Aargh! What the hell!? Why can't I touch you!?" I pushed myself up and turned around to face the blonde intruder again. He was smiling and holding that pillow I had thrown at him. "Wha-what the hell!? Why can you touch the pillow!?" Not to mention that I couldn't see through his body; he was completely solid.

"It's simply rules." He sighed. "I cannot explain it any better than any other ghost."

"Alien." I corrected. He rolled his eyes but didn't bother to say otherwise.

"Our master may not even be able to tell you. All I can say is that it is basic principle that I cannot touch you. Perhaps the master took pity on us and gave us the ability to touch objects because otherwise, our lives would be very dull."

"It's only dull if you make it dull." I told him, a bit calmer now.

"I couldn't make it fun if there was no touching objects, now could I?" He walked over to the bed and sat down to face me, spreading his white robes all around him like a fountain. I had to admit he was gorgeous. But that didn't really matter if he was a ghost… right?

"That doesn't matter." I shrugged. "But anyway, seriously, will you go home soon?"

An overdramatic sigh escaped from between his pink lips and he gazed at me with an eyebrow raised. He extended one hand behind him to lean on and he turned his face upwards to gaze at the ceiling. His Adam's apple could clearly be seen.

"I can't leave unless you leave." He told me, blowing a lot of withheld air from his mouth as he looked at me.

"What!?"

"That bracelet you're wearing… I'm attached to it, like I said."

I looked down at the brilliantly shining decoration. I hadn't expected to be right! It couldn't really have magical powers, could it? That sounded crazy. But so did the alien idea. And I had to admit, if he was an alien, he looked pretty damn gorgeous. Maybe I would be lucky and aliens had both reproductive systems so I could jump on him and we could begin the process to make little green alien babies.

The whole 'no touching' thing, we could work that out later.

"How the hell are you attached to it? I'm wearing it, not you."

"I'm attached to it in a manner of speaking. When I died, I reached out and touched this bracelet. I am attached to it."

"So if I died and touched a chair, I could become attached to it?" I snickered at the thought of someone sitting down and seeing my dead body, screaming, and committing themselves to an insane asylum because they saw dead people.

"No. It has to be something small, like a piece of jewelry. Even then, it is a very rare process. Lots of things have to fall in place in order for a person to become a ghost." He explained. I frowned, walking a little closer to him. By now, most of my fear had gone away and had been replaced by curiosity.

"What exactly does 'attached' mean?" I inquired. He smiled.

"It means that I can't stay away from that bracelet. In fact, I can't move four feet away from it. My soul is trapped in it, and so if you take it off, you won't be able to see or hear me anymore."

"That… that's kind of sad."

"Why do you say that?"

"Why wouldn't I? You're trapped in this thing… forever?"

"I guess so."

I kept silent as I walked over to him, sitting down on the bed right next to him. I reached down to touch his white robe, but found that my fingers went right through it. I looked up at him with confusion, and he smiled.

"We are both attached to our clothing." He explained. "If I removed this robe you could touch it, but not while I'm wearing it."

"Why?"

"Clothes are like a part of you. While you're wearing them, anyway."

"I'm not sure I understand…"

"Close your eyes." He told me with a light hint of commandment in his low voice. I did so, without any thought of protest. Strange. "Now picture anyone you know. Do you see clothes?"

I pictured Hidetsuro, and indeed, I saw clothes. Therefore, I nodded.

"I think that maybe I understand." I smiled and nodded.

"Maybe?" He quirked an eyebrow.

"Yes! Yes, I understand." I laughed.

"Good." He finally smiled. "Do you want to touch my coat?"

"Doesn't matter." I shrugged, grinning. He nodded and stood up, removing his coat. Something changed about it, but I wasn't sure exactly what it was. Perhaps it got more… solid? I didn't know.

I reached out for it, not even noticing how different Satsuki looked without that huge coat. As soon as my fingers lay on it, I noticed it was heavy-extremely heavy. I had to use two hands to lift it.

"Holy hell, Satsuki! How do you wear this thing always?"

"It's lighter when you have it on." He told me, examining his fingernails. I raised my eyebrows but lifted it up, wondering where the armholes were. He chuckled and climbed off the bed, taking hold of the other side of the white coat. I noticed that he had on a sleeveless white shirt beneath the robe, and I could see the way his arm muscles rippled as he lifted the heavy coat.

"Put your arms out." He told me, turning the coat toward my back. I obediently did so, and felt him lower the heavy coat onto my shoulders. His fingers brushed up against my neck and I jumped, spinning around to face him.

"You touched me!" I shrieked. I could still feel his fingers on my neck and it made me shiver. He shook his head and sighed, his hair falling over one shoulder. He didn't brush it back.

"I didn't."

"You did!"

"I didn't."

"You di-!"

"No, I didn't." He put a finger near my lips to keep me from talking. "I touched the clothing."

"But I felt your fingers…" I didn't know whether to be sad or happy about that. The feeling, it was so nice…

"Again, no. That was the fabric. You know how I can touch objects? Well, if I pick up an object and touch it to you, it would be like I'm touching you."

"So, really, you're touching the object and not me?" I tried to let all this sit in my brain. It was a little hard to believe, but what other explanation could there be? Satsuki nodded solemnly in response to my question, folding his arms across his chest in a regal manner.

"It must be really sad to be you." I snickered. My companion shot me an angry glare, but it quickly shifted off his face.

"I guess you could say that."

I hadn't expected such a serious answer from him. His speaking had led me to believe that he was playful, and here I might have read him wrong.

"How long have you been dead?" I asked after I grew tired of the long, hollow silence that had followed his comment. He replied immediately, and his reply made me wonder-how lonely was it to be a ghost?

"Two hundred and fifteen years." He told me.

"You know that right off the top of your head?"

"There isn't much else to do other than count minutes and hours and days and years."

"Can't you just go and scare the shit out of some little kid in the streets or something? Have some fun?"

"No." Again appeared that sad look on the perfect face. I scowled and made a funny face at him, hoping he would laugh. He didn't.

"Don't tell me that touching power is new."

"It is." He stood up and reached down for the edge of the blanket that he then wrapped around my arm to hold it still. "This bracelet that you're wearing," He pointed to it, touching it through the blanket. "can grant a lot more than you think."

"Like what?" I was interested. It seemed this thing was going to be the cause of many, many things. The question was… would it be good or bad things?

"Well… when you put it on, you can see and hear me. You know that. You also know that I'm attached to it. Well, did you know that I can't touch it?" He demonstrated this by lifting the blanket up and touching it. His hand went right through it.

"What does that have to do with anything?" I asked a bit irritably, always eager to get to the point.

"Before your little brother found the bracelet, it was buried in the backyard. I can't move four feet from that thing."

"Oh." I put all the facts together and found that instead, poor Satsuki was a very lonely person. "I take it no one's dug up this thing since you died, then?"

"Right." He reached for his coat-that I had completely forgotten I was wearing-and tried to touch it. His fingers went right through it. "The rule for this is that a ghost can't touch the jewelry, probably because a person can't touch their own soul and because if I could touch it, I could move the bracelet to a place where it could be found."

"Ghosts must be smart." I laughed, brushing a stray piece of hair away from my mouth.

"I guess some of us are, but you shouldn't really make generalizations about our species, or any species."

"Got it." I nodded in confirmation, twirling around in the large robe. "You know, this thing is huge! How do you move in it?"

"Easy." He stood up straighter, grinning as I came to realize-for the first time-that he was taller, most likely heavier, and more muscular than I was. "My figure can fill that out better than yours."

"Sure, rub it in. I'm younger than you!" I protested.

"Are you? I thought you were my age." He let himself fall back onto the bed and crossed his legs, tapping his chin with one hand while leaning on the other.

"I'm seventeen. You've got to be younger than that, right?" I looked at him closer. "Actually, it's really hard to tell your age. How old are you?"

"Nineteen. Or at least I used to be. I'm two hundred and thirty-four now." He giggled when my mouth dropped open. "I don't look it, do I? And by the way, thinking I look younger than you is not cool."

"Okay, okay." I sighed and stared at the person sitting on my bed, rolling my eyes at his casual position. Then I turned my attention to the coat. It felt nice against my skin, so soft and silky.

"Comfy, isn't it?" Satsuki's voice interrupted my thoughts of a chocolate heaven with the fabric covering the ground and all the surfaces.

"It is." I nodded, twirling my body around and examining my reflection in the half-length mirror that was propped up against the wall.

"Can I have it back now? I'm cold." He pouted, but I turned to stare at him blankly.

"You're cold!? It's like eighty degrees outside!" I shrieked, but at the same time taking the coat off. He shrugged, taking the lovely white garment from my arms.

"Ghosts have no body heat." He stated.

"Whatever happened to the 'alien' theory we were operating on earlier?" I grumbled, folding my arms over my tiny, naked chest. He didn't reply; his azure eyes were focused on my chest, which I quickly proceeded to cover up.

"You're too thin." He remarked before I had the chance to yell at him for staring. I blushed madly, backing away from his hand that was slowly sneaking towards me as if he could really touch me.

"Shut up! I've got the typical male Japanese build!" I growled. He laughed, tossing his coat to the bed.

"So do I." And off came his shirt, floating down to the ground like a falling sakura blossom. It felt like time froze for a moment. His chest was well sculpted, with six-pack abdominal muscles and hard looking-

Okay. I slapped myself just as drool escaped the corners of my mouth. I quickly wiped it off.

"I'm guessing you like men, Takumi?" Satsuki grinned at me, but I only realized that a few moments later. A rubescent blush quickly spread over my cheeks.

"No! No, I'm perfectly straight!" I argued. He laughed.

"You seem to be about as straight as a heart shaped arrow." He sang, spinning around in a circle.

"What makes you think that?!" I shrieked in horror. It honestly wasn't true! It couldn't be true! I liked girls, right!?

"No straight man would have drooled like that at my chest." He told me calmly. I was horrified and turned away from him. My mind was swarming. It couldn't be true! There was Miyuki, right!? I liked her. I was in love with her! There was no way I could like Satsuki, no way!

"Fuck off." I told him irritably. He grinned cattishly at me.

"Getting feisty now, are we?"

"Shut up! Put your clothes back on if you're so cold!" I commanded angrily. He simply laughed.

"You have your clothes off, so why can't I?" He chuckled, making me blush again. He seemed to be very good at that.

"…You know, the world could be a better place if you were gone." I grumbled. He was smiling widely, so widely it looked like his smile was made of plastic.

"Been there, done that. It was boring." He still had that plastic smile even as he talked. I wished I could-oh! I snatched up the pillow that I had tossed at Satsuki earlier and tossed it at him again. This time, apparently it was anticipated because he caught it. "I've been gone for a long time." He tossed the pillow back at me, catching me off guard and hitting me square in the face.

"Satsuki!" I hissed his name and threw the pillow to the ground, running toward where he was sitting on the bed and tackling him. "You're such a pain!" I went right through him, landing overtop his chest with our faces together.

"You kissed me." He murmured in surprise.

"I did not! I fell on you!" I protested. "Besides, you couldn't feel that!" And despite my objections, I hadn't moved off of him.

"On the contrary, I can feel that. This tickles, you laying on me like this." He smiled, letting his body lay flat.

"Sure it does." I sneered, grabbing the covers and putting them over Satsuki's chest. He caught on and instead turned the covers on me, wrapping me up and using the blankets to put me on my back so he was overtop of me, looking down into my eyes.

"Argh! Satsuki, let me go!" He was strong; I could tell that from his grip. He leaned down so his chest was pressing against mine though the blanket. I growled at him. "Let me go!"

"But this is so much fun." He teased, spreading his legs out overtop of me and grinning like a maniac. He lowered his face until there was less than an inch of space left between our faces. By now, my face was on fire. Even though there was a blanket draped over me, I could still feel him through it. It felt…

"Let me out of here!" I whined, trying to free myself by squirming around endlessly. As he slid into a… rather alluring position, more alluring than the one he'd been in before, I narrowed my almond encased eyes suspiciously. "I take it… you like boys?"

"Always have. It's how I can tell… that you do too." He grinned. I managed to free one of my hands and bring it out from the blanket. I went to smack him away, then remembered that I couldn't touch him. Ah, what a pain that was. With a few horribly erotic sounding grunts, I ripped the blanket off me and used it to grab Satsuki and push away. Unfortunately, the part I grabbed was…

"Oooh… that feels good." He moaned, falling backwards off the bed with a loud thump and keeping his fingers over his nipples. His abdominal muscles were moving in and out heavily and his happiness showed clearly in his pants.

"Pervert." I sneered, tossing the blanket overtop his half naked form. His clothes were lying on the bed in a pile, crumpled. I picked up the heavy coat, noticing the strong, musky scent that came from it. I looked down at the blonde haired man, who was currently catching his breath on the floor.

"Can you do that again? Please?" He begged, his voice sounding positively erotic. I scowled.

"Can you shut up?" I wanted to throw his coat at him and choke him with it, but it smelled much too good. "Hey… am I supposed to be able to smell you?"

"What? You can smell me?" He stopped pretending to moan and sat up, blinking. I nodded.

"Your coat has scent."

"Oh. Well, that's a given. If I take a piece of clothing off, it will have scent. It's the same with you. Otherwise, I can't smell you and you shouldn't be able to smell me." He explained, getting to his feet and stretching. I nodded, tossing him his coat.

"Put your clothes on."

"Too tempting for you?" He grinned and walked toward me, using his coat to push me backwards onto the bed. Then he grabbed his shirt from behind me and started to pull his over his head. He deliberately did it slowly, grinning like an idiot.

Then the door downstairs opened, and my father's voice rose up the stairs.

"Takumi-kun! We're home!"

"Come and get your food!" Hidetsuro's voice was much closer. I panicked before realizing he was only at the bottom of the stairs.

"Coming!" I stood up from the bed, snarling at Satsuki (who was peering out from behind his shirt) and reaching over to him, pulling his shirt down the rest of the way. "Stay here." I told him through clenched teeth. He simply laughed.

"I can't. I'm attached to that lovely piece of jewelry, remember?" He crossed his arms over his chest in a pout.

"Well then… I can just take it off, right?" I smiled widely at him, not expecting the extremely unhappy frown that crossed his face immediately.

"No! No! Please, no!" He looked like he was about to cry. "I don't want to be alone again! Please, Takumi!"

"Okay, fine. Just be good, all right?" I spun the bracelet in a full circle before exiting. I hoped that he knew I wouldn't be able to talk to him downstairs. There were so many things I wanted to ask him, but I guess they would have to wait. My stomach was just now remembering it was hungry, and my throat was very dry. Yet these two things still couldn't override my curiosity. I lived with a ghost now-how abnormal and maniacal was that?

Now that I'd had time to settle, I wondered-how had Satsuki died? That was one thing he hadn't brought up and that hadn't raised in my mind to ask just yet. Had he been in a car accident? Had he died of a disease? He didn't look harmed at all. And wouldn't a person's ghost reflect how they looked when they died?

"Satsuki?" I asked in the quietest voice I could manage as the two of us shuffled towards the stairs. "How did you die?"

He paused, looking sadly down at the ground. "…I was murdered."

"What!? How!?"

"With a knife."

"Where are your wounds?" I asked him, moving off to the direction of the bathroom. "Shouldn't your ghostly form reflect your wounds of how you looked when you died?"

"No." He laughed. "You watch too many movies. We never show our wounds. Apparently in the old days they did, but when a nineteenth century girl got her hands on a piece of ghostly jewelry and saw a ghost exactly the way he had died, she claimed she was a witch and she died. The leader didn't want repetitions of this, so the rule was made that we go back to our normal self when we die. The only thing that changes about us is that we get a scar in the places where we were hurt, but even those go away with time."

"Where are your scars?" I inquired, taking him into the bathroom and closing the door behind us. Satsuki smiled and lifted his coat and shirt out of the way to reveal a not-so-attractive stab wound somewhere in the middle of his chest. I was surprised I hadn't noticed it earlier, when he had been sitting overtop of me. I did notice now, aside from the stab wound, a diamond jeweled cross necklace hanging on a heavy looking silver chain. It seemed to suit him, yet the heavy chain unbalanced the entire… 'whiteness' of his whole outfit.

"You're religious?" I asked him with a surprised smile. Despite all the white, he didn't seem like a religious person. And in fact, he shook his head.

"I used to be, before I died. Now this necklace is just dead weight. It's nice to look at, though."

"Why do you keep it if you don't want it?" I asked, holding my stomach in hunger. I wanted food, but I wanted to hear this more. Satsuki sighed, looking sadly down at the ground. I loved the way his eyelashes expanded like that, and that melancholy look in those gorgeous azure eyes…

"…My brother gave it to me. It was the last present I received from him before I died. I… always wondered what happened to him." His tone was soft, quiet. For the first time since I'd met him, I felt sorry for him.

"What was his name?" I asked wistfully. "Maybe we can do research on him one day, find out what happened to him."

"…Tooru. His name was Tooru." He smiled, but there was sadness hidden behind that smile. "I'd really appreciate it if you could do research on him. There's nothing I want more."

"How old was he when you died?" I risked asking. He took no time to reply.

"Fourteen."

"Takumi-kun! Your food!" My mother's voice floated up the stairs. She sounded a little irritated, but perhaps that was just me. I nodded and reached over to the toilet, flushing it and washing my hands. If I hadn't done those things… well, there were only so many things you could do in a bathroom, and I didn't want my family to think it was the worst option. Satsuki watched me with a little smile on his lips, like he knew something. I pulled the hand towel off the rack and whipped him with it before leaving the bathroom and giggling quietly to myself.

"Takumi-kun!" Hidetsuro was whining from the bottom of the stairs.

"I'm coming, I'm coming..." I sighed with exasperation and hurried down the steps, sending Satsuki right behind me as always.

Author's Notes: Okay! Well, welcome to my NaNoWriMo story! It's going to feel quite rushed at some parts and, at the moment, there are only about 8 chapters (and they all equal about 50,000 words, so that tells you how long each chapter is XX) but I'm hoping that regardless of that, everyone still enjoys the story!

I love reviews, so please leave them! I shall shower everyone with cyber cookies and blueberry muffin flavored cereal goodness. 333