This story is told from Naru’s POV and shows his morning routine and what his life is like outside of the office. It also goes into his and Lin’s pasts. Honestly, I was blown away by the sheer wealth of information we get here, and the way Naru thinks is very...interesting to say the least. XD It’s totally worth a read for any Ghost Hunt fan!
Again, much thanks to witchhuntress for finding the scans! None of this would be possible without her, and she has done the fandom a great service! Also thanks to my mom for proofreading and helping me figure out some of the kanji that were harder to read, that saved me a LOT of time. @_@
And without further ado, please enjoy!
The phone rang.
As he wasn’t particularly bad at waking up, his eyes were open at the first ring, and he’d reached his hand out for the phone at his bedside with the third. With his face still half buried in a down pillow, he took the receiver and put it to his ear.
Since he knew who it was, he didn’t bother to answer. It was an every day occurrence. Because of the blackout curtains, the room was still dark inside.
“Good morning. What will you do today?”
Looking at the clock at his bedside, he saw that it was seven in the morning. Every morning, he got this call. The fact that it was never once late hinted at the caller’s personality.
“A fax came in. Also, the documents that need to be sent to Mr. Pratt are ready.”
J. C. Pratt was an important patron-- one of his supporters.
“In my room.”
Putting the receiver back, he lay back in bed. Then after a moment, he got up.
Climbing out of the double bed and opening the curtains, he saw the weather was fair outside. Compared to the city he used to live in, this place was warm, and blessed with good weather. From the big windows, he could see many high-rise buildings in front of him. The nearest ochre-colored buildings were the Dai Ichi Life and Century Hyatt. Further in, the majestic Tower of Babel-esque building was the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building. To the left, the Sumitomo Triangle Building. Even further in was the NS Building. This city stretched the tallest in all of Japan.
And here he stood on the 32nd floor of a similar high-rise building within that city. The room number was 3212. It was one room of a certain hotel chain considered to be especially major overseas.
He stretched and went to the bathroom. There he washed his face, took off his pajamas, and changed into sweat clothes. This all took only five minutes. He was very quick at getting ready. Leaving the room with key in hand, he took the elevator to the top floor. It had a small pool there, but he wasn’t looking to go into the water.
There was a section called the Fitness Room. He spoke to the member of staff at the counter who he knew by sight.
“Good morning. How was your trip?”
He’d gone to Kyushu for about three days. He just got back late last night.
“It was hot.”
“If it’s Kyushu, I bet it was. Though I’m sure compared to your country, everywhere in Japan is hot. ...Oh, Lin-san has already arrived.”
He nodded, deposited his key, and went inside. Just as the staff member had said, when he went to the suntan room, he saw a tall figure was already there.
No one would want to get a tan this early in the morning. Aside from the tall figure, the room was completely empty. He wasn’t here to sunbathe either. It was just to do some morning exercise. This was a years-long habit.
The suntan room had music playing at a low volume, but currently, even though it was morning, a gentle ballad was playing. They were the only ones who used this room at this hour, so before they knew it, this had been provided for them. After frequenting the place for over a year, perhaps that was only natural.
Standing on the empty floor, they went from deep breathing to the Starting Form. From a False Step, to Holding Ball, and then to White Crane Spreads Wings. This was Tai Chi. The 48 Form Set, to be specific. It wasn’t as if he was doing this as a martial art or for health reasons. Tai Chi was considered a standard for Qigong techniques such as Tu-na, so it couldn’t be helped. Music wasn’t necessary, but if there was to be any, they would prefer it to be slow.
From a Left Single Whip to a Play Lute Left. As he took a Left False Step, his head was lightly pushed forward by Lin.
This probably meant that his center of gravity had fallen backward.
It was five years ago that Noll first met Lin, an expert in Chinese sorcery. At the time, Lin was twenty three years old. Noll’s father taught law at a university, and Lin attended his lectures as a graduate student. Noll’s father also happened to be a parapsychologist. His taking interest in Lin’s special skills and inviting him to the house was the start of it all.
Lin was the son of a distinguished family based in London, though the family’s main household was in Hong Kong. Currently, with the imminent transfer of sovereignty to China approaching, they had fled Hong Kong and moved to London. His parents’ household were the owners of the Finwood Company Group, but despite being the eldest son, Lin was not involved with the family business. It had already been decided that the second eldest son would be the one to inherit the company.
The Lin family in London was also famous for being a family of sorcerers. The teachings were passed down every other generation from grandfather to grandchild, and he had been raised to be one since birth. As for the fact that he had no particular qualms about this and thought of it as his calling, perhaps one could say it was the result of his training, or that it was just very like him.
Back then, Noll himself was twelve years old, and his natural born “sensitive abilities” had gone out of control, causing him to be constantly bedridden. His psychometric ability was at its peak at that time, and his sympathy with his subjects was very strong. Naturally, this caused his emotions to become unstable, and he was tormented by worthless nightmares, which in turn caused poltergeists. Of course, this was a nuisance to Noll himself, but since it caused rocks ranging in size from the tip of a thumb to a child’s fist to rain down frequently, it was a great nuisance to his family as well.
When his parents brought this up in conversation, Lin recommended Tu-na. He volunteered to teach him himself, and since then, he became Noll’s teacher. When Noll lived at home, they used to meet once a week, but since coming to Japan and living in the same hotel, it became a habit to do this every morning. Or perhaps it would be more accurate to say that Lin did this every morning, and Noll just accompanied him so he could get his posture looked over.
Crossing Hands, and then the Closing Form.
“You’ve gotten better.”
Lin tossed him a towel. He had a predisposition for not sweating much, but while Tai Chi looked calm, it was surprisingly active. After finishing 48 forms, he’d worked up a decent sweat.
“Would you like to try doing Sanshou for once?”
Sanshou was what was known as sparring in karate and such.
“There’s no need. I’m not doing this as a martial art and I’m not planning on getting in any fights.”
To this, the man smiled thinly.
“There may come a time you’ll get dragged into one.”
“I use my brain, not brawn.”
“Well...if you have the basics down to this level, I’m sure your body will move on its own when the times comes. But Sanshou is also a part of your training.”
‘My PK would probably move on its own first,’ Noll thought, but he wasn’t going to say that. He wasn’t doing this because he wanted to in the first place, so he didn’t want to spend any more time on it. With a small wave of his hand, he left the suntan room.
He returned to his room and took a shower. Then he dried his hair with a towel and put on some clothes. He always had his clothing pulled out of the closet beforehand. The inside of his closet was completely monotone.
It was commonly said that wearing only black clothing was a sign of mourning. In reality, it was a habit he picked up after his twin brother’s death, so that wasn’t totally wrong. But that didn’t make it entirely correct either. Simply put, it was just too much trouble thinking of what to wear. Back when his brother was around, he used to meddle in everything, so Noll just had to do as he was told. But now he had to think about these things for himself. He only brought the bare minimum change of clothes when he came to Japan, and afterwards, whenever he bought more, he always chose black. So before he knew it, his entire wardrobe was of one color. But this way, he didn’t have to think about color combinations, and the people around him assumed he was in mourning so they took care not to bother him. It was a perfect situation. The less hassle, the better.
Until breakfast, he read a newspaper. It’s not like he was deeply interested in current affairs, nor was he interested in culture, but he had some spare time and nothing else to do. A newspaper was delivered to his room every morning as part of the hotel’s service, so he might as well skim through it. That being said, he was a foreigner, so while he could speak Japanese, he wasn’t very good at reading or writing. Reading a newspaper required perseverance, let alone technical books. But that didn’t mean he was enthused enough to bother requesting an English language newspaper, so for now, though he said he was reading, he was really only picking up on the headlines.
But still, being able to read with some effort was still better compared to his real parents who, while being able to speak Japanese, were unable to read or write it at all.
While he was nicknamed Noll, his full name was Oliver Davis. He was born in America, in Boston, Massachusetts. Seventeen years ago, he was born ahead of Eugene, his identical twin and elder brother according to the family register. Their mother, following family tradition, had reported Eugene as the elder. Apparently, a child who pushed their sibling aside in order to be born first was not worthy of being called the elder brother.
Their mother was a second-generation Japanese emigrant named Kazuko; he didn’t know her maiden name. Their father was of Irish lineage and was from Salem; named Jeffery Griffith, he was half Japanese. They were both low class immigrants; their mother couldn’t speak English, and while their father could speak it, he couldn’t read or write at all. Accordingly, Japanese was used exclusively within the household, and even after leaving that household, Japanese was still used normally between the brothers. This was the biggest reason that he could speak Japanese.
Apparently, the brothers had strange powers from birth. Their father, having been born and raised in Salem, famous for its witch hunts, was disgusted-- it could be said that he hated them. He hardly ever came home, and even when he did, he left right away. So while Noll remembered his face, he didn’t know what kind of person he was. For the brothers, this was probably extremely fortunate. Thinking back to it, their father was most likely a drug addict and seemed to be a very violent man, so if he was at home, they would have probably been abused.
As for their mother, now that he thought of it, she was probably an alcoholic. Whether or not that was the reason, she was very lethargic when it came to doing anything. She would spend the entire day drinking without eating anything. And very frequently, she forgot to feed her children. The inside of the house resembled a ruin, and was rank with the smell of decay. How this couple managed to pay their living expenses, he could not remember.
It was a wonder that he and his brother were even able to grow up in such a house, but at the very least, they were able to learn common sense appropriate for their age, and could speak English, though with an accent. But they owed this not to their parents, but to an old woman who lived nearby. Noll did not know who this woman really was. He only remembered that she was Native American, cast curses and told fortunes as her livelihood, and went by the nickname Nuptadi-- which he later learned meant “Young Grandmother” among Eastern Woodland tribes.
The winter of their seventh year began with Nuptadi’s death, and ended with their mother’s. When they woke up in the morning, they found their mother bent over the kitchen table, her body cold. He didn’t know the cause of her death. They weren’t old enough to even understand what death was, so they just waited for her to wake up. When their father came home for the first time in a while, it was already five days later. Though it was winter, the stench of death was beginning to fill the room. When their father saw their dead mother, he let out a curse and left. He never came back after that, so Noll did not know where he was now or what he was doing. On the tenth day, a neighbor finally noticed the smell and came over to find the brothers had already eaten all the food in the house, and were so starved they could not move. From there, they were sent directly to an orphanage at the local church.
That church was also a considerably ugly place, and the priest there used the subsidies to fatten himself up like a pig. In truth, they probably would have been abused there as well, but once everyone realized that rocks came flying at anyone who tried to bully the brothers, they were left completely alone.
They lived there for a little over a year until they were adopted by the Davis couple, their current parents. Their adopted father, Martin, was a gentleman and professor at King’s College in Cambridge, England, as well as an enthusiastic parapsychologist. He had come to Boston by chance, and under strange circumstances, happened to come across them. Their adopted mother, Luella, was also a very wise and kind lady. They were given a clean and warm home, and put in school. Although they had reached school age when in Boston, they had never gone to school before, and though the orphanage promised compulsory education as a public face, they weren’t educated there either. If their real parents were still alive, the brothers would have remained in the lowest class and never gone to school, and if the orphanage wasn’t such a terrible place, they probably never would have been adopted. You really never know what might turn out to be a blessing.
It was the kind of past that would put a stricken expression on the faces of anyone who heard it, but it wasn’t so terrible that it left any physical or mental scars. They had hated their parents, and had no strong feelings about losing them. So the brothers themselves weren’t bothered by it much, but apparently other people didn’t feel the same. No matter what kind of person, they were sure to sympathize, so he found it very useful. Whenever he had trouble interacting with others, if he just told them this story, the relationship instantly turned favorable. Actually, it was probably thanks to this personal history that Lin began treating them as an exception to his hatred of the Japanese. Despite appearances, he was quite soft-hearted.
The man in question had just arrived. When he heard the knock, Noll threw his newspaper away. Opening the door, Lin was there, and the time was exactly 8:30.
“This is from Londenberg.”
Lin held out a fax and he took it. The Londenberg Foundation was another important supporter. In a world with little appreciation for parapsychology research, having patrons was an absolute necessity. And his personal history played a great part in hooking them, for which he was grateful.
The fax listed a special grant for sixty thousand dollars. He had felt the need for High Sensitivity Radar during a case the other day, so he’d done some begging.
“Sixty thousand dollars.”
“If we trade in the one we have now, we can offset the cost, and take out a loan for the rest. Mr. Mayer is willing to take up the cost of the loan.”
Noll smiled wryly.
“You already have confirmation?”
“I took the liberty of sounding him out on it ahead of time. You want the radar, don’t you?”
Lin sat in an armchair and pulled some documents out of a folder.
It was a financial statement for Mr. Pratt. Mr. Pratt was the one backing Noll’s stay in Japan.
Currently, Noll was working as a researcher for SPR. While the maintenance costs for equipment came from SPR’s budget, he had come to Japan for personal reasons, so that didn’t cover his living expenses. He received a salary as a researcher, but with Japan’s high cost of living, that wasn’t enough to pay his living expenses either. He could not help but feel fortunate that he’d managed to latch onto an understanding patron. When he returned home, he’d have to be dragged out to worthless social functions and act as an entertainer, but it was well worth enduring that much.
“This is good. Send it out sometime today.”
As he handed back the documents, they heard a knock. Room service had arrived with breakfast.
This was quite a high class hotel, and Japan had several cheaper, domestically owned hotels, but due to meal-related issues, staying in a foreign-owned hotel was necessary. In Japanese hotels, such a thing as a vegetarian menu did not exist. Especially menus catered for an all vegetarian diet.
As part of the training for Tu-na, a vegetarian diet was required. He’d never liked meat much to begin with, so this was not at all an inconvenience. When it came to an all vegetarian diet, menu options were always limited, but he wasn’t very interested in eating, so as long as he didn’t starve, he was fine with that. From that point of view, having less options meant there was less trouble choosing from a menu, so it was convenient.
When they weren’t on a case, Lin would at least eat eggs, but Noll thought it was a bother so he omitted eggs too. Aside from eggs, he wouldn’t even eat consommé. Even soup had to be made with vegetable bouillon. When he lived at home, this caused a lot of trouble for his mother. Though she said she was happy that it expanded her cooking repertoire, he knew that preparing a separate menu for just one person was a lot of work.
Cereal, a hotdish made of sauteed vegetables, bread and fruit. He was never a big eater, so this was the size of his typical breakfast. Women were fond of telling him ‘you’ll always be skinny if you don’t eat more,’ but he knew that childhood malnutrition was the real cause of his inability to get fat.
As they ate, they talked about work. This had nothing to do with whether or not they had a case. Going on cases wasn’t originally their job anyway.
“About the flickering on frame 612.”
“Did it come out?”
“When I analyzed the image, there were some traces of light.”
“It was simply light. Very minutely, on both sides from right to left. I don’t know the light source. I will try analyzing the intensity today.”
“It would be great if we could find other similar images.”
“There was more similar flickering, but we were only doing high-speed photography for volumes 6-12. Unless it’s with high-speed photography, there is a limit to image analysis. Would you like to bring in another camera?”
Noll frowned. There was a mountain of equipment he wanted, but unfortunately, their budget was not limitless.
“Do we have the budget for it?”
“The insurance came through for the High Sensitivity Camera we lost at Ryokuryou High School, so if we scrape it all together, we should have enough for one more.”
“It would be a different story if we had two.”
“Yes, we could film from two sides. We could even create a 3D image.”
“Mm. But I’d rather have one more Tracking Camera.”
“Yes. ...Come to think of it, it seems the guys from the lab were able to do something with the clock. I got a call from them yesterday.”
“They said they would send a prototype. We could use it during the next case at the earliest.”
It was about four years ago that the British Society for Psychical Research-- SPR for short-- created a specialized research institute. Up to then, it had been merely an academic organization, but now they embarked on full-scale systematic investigative research. There were several laboratories within the institute, but the one Noll and Lin were enrolled in was the Fieldwork Laboratory. Originally they were both from different departments, but the Fieldwork Chief was Japanese, and she had gathered people who could speak Japanese to form a five-person team. One of them, Eugene, was now dead, Noll and Lin had come to Japan taking equipment with them, and the chief, Mori Madoka, was devoting herself as the residual researcher and backup.
Noll became part of the Fieldwork Laboratory three years ago. Until then, he had been part of the Theory Laboratory. His area of expertise was theoretical analysis of psychic phenomena, and that still hadn’t changed. Lin was in the Mechanic Team. His role was to analyze the data gathered from experiments and fieldwork, or developing new equipment to use in experiments. Even now, he was still half-enrolled in the Mechanic Team, and what he called the ‘lab’ was this team’s laboratory.
“If we have the clock, our measuring instruments and cameras will be completely in sync.”
“That would be appreciated. What about thermography?”
“It would be in sync as well.”
“The margin of error?”
“For now, it’s apparently 80 milliseconds. They said they would like to take it down to 50 milliseconds, but that would probably be starting from the new version.”
“50 would be amazing.”
“Indeed. ...And? What will you do today?”
He was asking whether or not Noll was coming to the office, considering he just returned from a trip last night.
“I’ll go in the afternoon. Or I might stay in. I have my paper to write.”
“How is it coming along?”
Noll frowned a little.
“The problem is the third chapter. We’ve picked up lots of interesting data in Japan, but thanks to that, I’m having difficulty integrating it.”
“I can imagine.”
It was a little over a year ago that “The System of the Unexplained Phenomena” got published. It was quite highly regarded, but his next thesis, for which he’d narrowed the focus to psychic phenomena, was deadlocked on the third chapter for already a month. He was supposed to hand the manuscript over to his agent half a month ago, but it just couldn’t be helped.
“I can see the answer intuitively, but there’s not enough data. And I certainly couldn’t forge the data...”
It was possible to forcibly push his argument forward, but as a personal policy, he didn’t want to do that.
“I believe it was about spirits’ forms?”
“Right. I’d like to reach a conclusion on whether the reason spirits’ forms appear solid is because two-dimensional information appears three-dimensional through something like a holograph, or because they actually are three-dimensional...”
“Which does your intuition think it is?”
“It’s looking like my only options are to either carry the conclusion over to my next paper, or to force it.”
Lin smiled thinly.
“If you force it, I’m sure Takigawa-san will be disappointed.”
Caught off guard for once, Noll nearly dropped his fork.
“Why does Bou-san come into this conversation?”
“How does it feel to see one of your fans in the flesh?”
“That’s a stupid thing to bring up.”
“Not at all,” he laughed. “I just thought it was rare, to see even you get embarrassed.”
“I don’t recall ever being embarrassed.”
“Really? And yet whenever Takigawa-san starts talking about Dr. Davis, you run away.”
This was true, so Noll looked away.
“It’s not that I’m embarrassed. I just feel like I shouldn’t be there.”
“That’s what we call being embarrassed.”
“Sorry, I’m not used to receiving praise.”
“You have plenty of admirers.”
“You mean Gene does. I’m just extra.”
His dead brother had been a very sociable person, so he used to always have people around him. But things were different in Japan, so he was often at a loss. When it came to interacting with strangers, he had left it all up to his brother, so now that he’d lost him, Noll found himself unsure how to respond to people. He would constantly think, ‘If only my brother was alive.’ Human interaction was a bother, so he had been content living a peaceful life of research as a shadow hidden at Eugene’s side. But now...he could only sigh.
The office in Shibuya was, to put it kindly, being turned into a cafe as of late. The culprits were all a bunch of shameless rabble, so lecturing them would have no effect. Though if it were the usual pattern, their objective would be to see Eugene, and if he was there, they’d grab him, and if he wasn’t, they would look bored and leave.
Someone would probably come by today too, he was sure. Just thinking of it made him feel fed up. At the very least, it was not conducive to writing his paper. He let out another sigh.
The office usually opened at 10. After he finished eating, Lin left right on time.
Noll worked on his paper through the morning, ate lunch in the dining room at noon, and then returned to his word processor in the afternoon. He had brought in a Macintosh for his writing. When he got stuck at a point he could not get past no matter how much he thought, he decided to go to the office to refresh his mind. For the time being, he put an end to his work, and when he’d finished running spellcheck, it was already nearing 3 PM.
Only taking a disk with him, he went down to the lobby. Thinking while waiting for a taxi was another way of getting over writer’s block.
The people around him kept sending him glances. A young woman made some comment within his hearing too. He was aware that he stood out, and he was used to it, so he could ignore it all without a problem. This was still better compared to when his brother was beside him. When the two of them were together, they stood out twice as much.
He understood that he had an attractive appearance. When he looked at his brother, he couldn’t help but acknowledge that he had a handsome face. And since he had the exact same face, the same must be true for him. It was a simple syllogism. Of course, it depended on a person’s tastes, but everyone he met always said that, so his face was probably popular with most people. He’d never felt particularly happy about it. It was useful in hooking patrons, but it was more often a nuisance. And he considered anything that got in the way of a peaceful life of research to be basically meaningless.
He didn’t like being in the lobby with all the irritating stares, but it was hot outside. On top of having low blood pressure, he couldn’t produce sweat very well, so heat frankly took a toll on him. Even if that weren’t the case, Japan was hot. In England, there weren’t many days this hot even in the middle of summer. When he thought of how it would get even hotter once the rainy season had passed, he could only feel dejected.
The bellboy caught a taxi for him, so Noll stood up. Taking a taxi was a luxury, but he just couldn’t bring himself to walk to a station in this heat. Fortunately, he’d barely touched the salary he received from SPR, so it was a luxury he could afford. Without traffic, it would take twenty minutes to get from here to the office; even with traffic, it would only take a little over thirty minutes.
The office was in Shibuya. Its appearance that often got mistaken for a cafe was in Madoka’s tastes. He’d opened the office simply as a way to kill time and as an excuse for receiving a budget, so he never intended to run a business in the first place. He would have been fine with a more drab-looking place. That way, the rabble that mistook the place for a cafe and hung around would go away.
Noll let out a deep sigh. At times, he was struck with the urge to blast them all away, but he didn’t want to risk his own health for something of that level. If he was truly unhappy deep down, his subconscious might retaliate for him, but the truth was that Noll didn’t really hate the rabble that hung out at the office, so he was stumped.
Noll sighed again. He touched the disk in his pocket. Would they let him get any work done today?
Nevertheless, this was now his reality.
-Based on the descriptions, I’m guessing the hotel Naru & Lin are staying at is supposed to be the Hilton Tokyo in Shinjuku.
-I’m not sure if I got all the Tai Chi terms 100% correct, but I tried my best!
Here’s a video of the Tai Chi 48 Form Set.
And the forms step by step.
The text used the Japanese “tonou” (吐納) rather than the Chinese “tuna” (吐纳), but I decided to use Chinese terms for consistency.
-It looks like this story takes place between the Urado case and the Yoshimi case? They mention Ryokuryou High School and Takigawa’s fanboying, and it’s either before or during the rainy season (which lasts from June to July).
-The part with Naru’s clothing reminded me of this bit from one of my doujinshi. Actually, I recognized a lot of details from this story as things I’d seen mentioned in Japanese fanfiction before, from Naru doing Tai Chi in the morning to having suffered neglect and malnutrition as a child. Hell, I have a doujinshi from like 15 years ago that illustrates the twins’ entire backstory, and I didn’t realize it was all canon until now. The fact is, Japanese fandom has known about all this for two decades. English-speaking fandom is so behind. D: