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manga - nice guy face

chemistryisfun in ghostsugar_rp

Shivers [open to faculty]

[takes place on the day of Sakai's death]

Friday again, and the warm spring sun rising in a clear blue sky made Yuzuya feel as if something nice were going to happen today. He'd woken up early, gone on a quick jog, and had even gotten ready in enough time to get ready and be headed to school early. He walked to work in the crisp morning air, admiring sidewalks strewn with the scatter of cherry blossom petals. Soon it would be full-blown spring flowers along the sidewalks. The weather had been growing gradually more and more favorable this week. Yuzuya hoped the sunny weather would last all weekend. He felt like taking a long drive along the coast.

At the front gates, he was greeted by the principal, who was puffing away at a cigarette and trimming the camellias. "Good morning, Principal," Yuzuya made sure to say clearly, and dip his head with respect. He was on his guard, though. There was something about this man that often left him feeling completely flabbergasted.

Principal Narimatsu turned and grinned, yellowed teeth holding a cigarette. "Good morning to you, Shibata-kun! Enjoying the weekend?"

Yuzu straightened his tie. Was this a test, or was he serious? "Er, I guess, but, it hasn't started yet for me, sir. I have to get through today first."

The principal clipped off a pink blossom and tucked it behind his ear. "I'd be hitting the beach with a nice girl if I were your age," he advised, smiling benevolently. "That's what sick days are for."

Yuzuya scratched his head and tried to think of an appropriate response. "I... I see." It came out sounding more like a question than a reply, but oh well. "P-please excuse me," he said, and he hustled up the steps to his shoe locker.

At 7:22, it was early yet for the teacher's room to be busy. Ono-sensei was checking the bulletin board and going over topics that would be discussed in today's meeting. There was a math teacher making coffee, and two other teachers back by the copy machine. Yuzuya entered the sliding door, gave the Vice Principal a cheerful greeting, and made his way to his desk. He'd settled in grading papers when the phone rang.

As the most junior of the teachers in the room, Yuzu sprang to get the phone, which was not too far from his desk anyhow. "Good morning, Kikuryou Academy.... Yes....?"

Yuzuya listened, and visibly blanched. "Are you sure?" he asked, cautiously. The voice was familiar, but he couldn't place just who. "Yes. I, I see. Thank you." Yuzuya's hand must have been trembling as he hung up the phone, because he dropped the receiver and it clanged loudly against the desk. He hurriedly picked it up and replaced it in the cradle.

Ono-sensei was staring at him, clearly irritated. Yuzuya composed himself for her benefit, and turned to ask her as politely as he could. "Where's Sakai-sensei at the moment?"

"Not here yet. He may be making rounds as usual," Ono-sensei grumbled, as if annoyed at Yuzuya for asking. "But he's late."

"I see," Yuzuya replied to her, trying to muster his calm. Then, the caller's words... it could be true. He had hoped it was some sort of mistake.

"What is it?" Ono snapped.

Yuzuya straightened himself to his full height. "It seems that something terrible has happened." The young science teacher's face was ashen as he scanned the room for who would be the most helpful. Murakami-sensei was looking at him quizzically from her desk beside the door. He inclined his head towards her, beseeching. "Sensei, please call the police, tell them to come right away. There may be an intruder on campus, everyone, you'd better stay in here for safety."

"Shibata, what's your problem?" Ono-sensei snapped. "Spit it out already."

Yuzuya turned to the Vice Principal. "It's Sakai-sensei."

* * *

Yuzuya, Ono-sensei and a few of the older male teachers hurried out to the tea garden.

"This is prepostorous, where's Sakai-sensei?" Ono-sensei was grousing. "It was likely a prank call, Shibata."

"I don't think so," Yuzuya answered, firm. "They said it was over here by the--" Turning the corner to leave the tea garden, he saw it.

What had yesterday been the pristine, paved path out of of Kikuryou's tea garden was now red with spreading blood. In the middle lie what was left of Sakai-sensei. The clothes were unmistakably Sakai-sensei's black and white tracksuit, but the body had been cut in half at the waist. The head, hands, and feet also appeared to have been cut or torn off, and were lying beside the torso and legs. The chest had been skewered, the face was turned up, and seemed to be staring up at the blue sky above in horror. It gave Yuzuya an awful feeling. What or who had he been looking up at, in such shock?

"Sakai-sensei!" shrieked Ono-sensei. "Oh dear gods, look at all the blood!"

"His face," the head science teacher gasped. "What's happened to his eyes?"

Yuzuya turned back to face the tea garden's bridge and pond instead of the gruesome sight. He felt a gag reflex coming on, and he steeled himself to keep steady as he spoke. "T-The eyes have been gouged out."

The other two teachers stood there, gaping in horror.

"We need to keep students from coming in here," Yuzuya urged, concerned. It was getting close to the time that kids would start arriving for school. "They can't see this, it'll be awful for them. And we need to make sure that the person who did this is not still around, they could be somewhere." When Ono-sensei and the science department head didn't make a response, Yuzuya figured that the shock was still setting in. They had probably known the man for years.

Yuzuya nodded and backed away. "O-okay, I'll get on it, then." And with that he rushed off to get help to barricade the area until the arrival of the police.

* * *

Hours later, the body had been cleaned up, and the students had been let out a little early. Ono-sensei and a few other teachers who had known Sakai best had left to go to the police station. The police had all cleared out save for a few detectives who were still outside searching the grounds for any clues. No intruder had been found on campus. No footprints, no fingerprints, no murder weapons of any sort. The town police had no explanation so far for Sakai's demise. They had had to call in crime scene investigators from the nearest large city, and all had left promising to get back with the school if they found answers. The teachers had been instructed to contact them if new evidence was found. Yuzuya, like other teachers on campus, had answered many questions, filled out many pieces of paper, and had even been fingerprinted.

Now Yuzuya sat at his desk in the teacher's room with a half-empty cup of coffee left over from the morning. The sun was beginning to set outside. He had a sweater on, but he still felt cold. He was supposed to be grading papers or doing desk work, but he found he couldn't really concentrate. His mind kept slipping away from the task at hand and into thoughts that were sending goosebumps down his arms. As he watched the congealed creamer swirl float on his cold coffee, his brain felt numb.


Yuzuya wasn't the only person feeling numb. Ayumi sat a chair in the corner and kept her gaze firmly on the floor. She had been there at the police station, too. But while the other teachers had been perfectly honest, Ayumi had lied through her teeth like a master. It hadn't been the first time that she'd lied, but...it still made her feel vaguely sick.

The only other teacher to really look very off, though, was Shibata-sensei. She glanced over at him every few minutes and finally gave up ignoring that he was miserable. And no matter to how she was feeling...Ayumi knew she would hate herself if she didn't at least try to hear him out. Or see if she could help alleviate some of his distress.

She got up from her seat silently and then stopped a comfortable distance from him. Now she had to speak...about what, she didn't know.

"Shibata-sensei? Are you...feeling all right?"

Well, it was a start, right?
When Ayumi spoke to him, the words didn't register at first. Yuzuya blinked rapidly when he picked up the sound of his name through his thoughts. "Hm?"

Then her question sunk in. "Oh." He forced a wan smile for the P.E. teacher and straightened his posture. "Me? I'm okay," he responded, trying to appear cool and calm. "I'm fine. Don't worry." He fidgeted, tapped his pen against his thumb, and his eyes darted surreptitiously over to search her expression. "A-a-are you okay, Oyate-sensei?"
In stark contrast to Ayumi and Yuzuya, Samuel Kramer didn't seem upset or stunned at all; quite the contrary, he was simply quiet as he paged through his book, every now and again stopping to take a drink of his cola. At first glance, he seemed almost uncaring, as though even a horrific death could do nothing to him.

In truth, he was thinking very carefully about what he knew. No evidence at all; no footprints, no physical remains, not even an idea of the weapon that had been used. Those possibilities didn't add up; no human being could walk into school- even as early as it was, there were sure to be people ready to notice a stranger- and then proceed to butcher their judo teacher so easily. Kramer had heard stories of Mr. Sakai; a normal student swinging a sword would be incredibly out of their league, and most teachers wouldn't be much better.

In the end, there were only a few people who could have done it. The subjects in question, or at least the two primary ones, were in this room. Ayumi would easily have had a reason to do it, and considering his skills, kenjutsu wouldn't have been too far-fetched. And of course, he knew that he himself was likely just as suspicious; a foreigner, a new arrival, and someone who had expressed his disagreements with Ms. Ono previously, something Sakai surely had never taken lying down. Of course, there were other options... that was why Kramer was reading and only paying casual attention to the other two. Feelings wouldn't get to the bottom of this... and Kramer wasn't one to let another innocent suffer through his own laxity.
They would never find any more evidence, Sumire knew. They hadn't found it back in 2000, when a teacher had died after apparently being electricuted by a pencil sharpener, they hadn't found any in 1997 when someone had fallen asleep under the stately trees outside and never awoke.

It was, however, very nice that they tried so hard, and still hadn't shut the school down. It'd been far too long for the school to go without a body, and Sumire wondered what it was that Sakai had done to piss off the more... visceral of the ghosts at the school. It had certainly put her grandfather off, and he'd holed himself up in his office with strict orders to not disrupt him. One could only wonder what the old man was up to, but if it had something to do with the ghosts...

So much for the dinner plans she'd had with him. Sumire swept into the teachers' lounge with a broom and dust pan, preparing to give the room a thorough cleaning. There was nothing else to do when things like this happened, but she hadn't expected to see Ayumi and Yuzuya in the room.

"Oh! I'm sorry! I thought everyone had gone home," she bowed and apologized.
Shibata-sensei still looked nervous...but that had been obvious before she'd come over to talk to him.

"Me? Oh, I'm fine." Ayumi shrugged. "It's been...a very long day."

Murakami-sensei's entrance made her nerves waver again and she let out a soft breath when there was no imminent threat.

...she really needed a hard work out tonight. Maybe that would calm her down.

"Oh, no, it's fine." She waved a hand at the nurse and felt her smile become more natural as she focused on something other than...the morning's events. Anything but those, really.
When Sumire addressed them, Yuzuya turned quickly, surprised to see her. "It's no problem, sensei," he replied, with a shy smile. "Please."

Come to think of it... since the students had been let go early, cleaning time had been left undone. Feeling sheepish for not noticing sooner, Yuzu got to his feet. "Er, d-do, do you, maybe need some help?" he asked, abashed. Leave it to a woman to notice things he was totally blind to.
"Grandfather's always said that an unclean school is not a school at all," Sumire said politely, sweeping under desks with a vengeance. "You've both had very long days, Shibata-sensei, so I don't mind doing this." Besides, it appeared that the groundskeeper had quit. Again. She'd have to remind her grandfather to have Ono hire another.

She swept around Kramer as she spoke, "So, please, there's no reason for you to be staying here, unless you want to mop." She smiled back at Ayumi and Yuzuya over her shoulder.
"Your grandfather is right, Ms. Sumire," Samuel affirmed quietly, standing up and pulling out his chair so that she could get beneath the desk without having to go around him. One might ask why he didn't get down to help, but then one would be asking an incredibly silly question.

What was odd was how everyone was reacting to the events of the day. They're fine, everyone's fine, everything's okay, that was what they kept telling each other, as though by speaking it out loud they could somehow ignore reality. Really kind of tiresome, in a way; someone had just gotten murdered in a most horrifically gruesome way, someone who truly was all right in such a situation would be worth looking at with suspicion.

...though, at the moment, Mr. Kramer was a bit distracted with how well the nurse handled a broom. No fingerprints, no physical evidence... but a witch could get around both, now couldn't she?
Mopping wasn't the most exciting thing to do, but it would be good to help out a fellow teacher...staff member, rather, and...it would keep her busy. And that was exactly what she needed to be right now.


"I'll go get a mop then," Ayumi smiled, feeling her nerves settle even at just the thought of being busy.
Yuzuya felt relieved when Ayumi acted first, then he wasn't quite so conspicuous in joining in the cleanup effort. "Me too," he added, hurrying over. He made his way over to where Sumire was sweeping out dust bunnies from under the second year teachers' desks, and knelt at Sumire's feet to hold the dustpan for her while she swept.

And he made sure to keep his eyes firmly on the dustpan, too. He couldn't see it, but he was absolutely sure Kramer-sensei was watching like a hawk, and there was no way Yuzu was going down on the Kramer Record (tm) as some kind of lech. Especially not where Murakami-sensei was concerned. Geez, who could have impure thoughts about her? She was a sweetheart.

Speaking of which, Yuzuya realized, Sumire had really cute shoes on. The things you noticed when you were on the floor.

Okay, he needed a change of thought pattern, and fast. "I was under the impression," Yuzuya spoke up, tentative, "That we were kind of supposed to stay until regular hours."
Sumire motioned to the mostly empty room, "There's just us left. I don't know many teachers that are brave enough to stick around after something so..." She trailed off and shrugged a bit, sweeping the bunnies into a neat pile and onto the dustpan.

"Anyway, it's not the first time something like this has happened. It happened once when I was a student here, too. The important thing is to keep the students calm and happy, and out of the way of the investigation. Then we'll be able to pay our respects to Sakai's family." Sumire made it sound so simple, like one could just look in the rule book and there it would be, under some subsection about death at the school.
"You mean to say that this isn't the first time that a teacher's been murdered under unusual circumstances, Nurse Sumire?" Perhaps the witch knew because she had intimate knowledge of the details... no, he had to keep an open mind. Any kind of creature could have done it... though he supposed a particularly cunning and well-planned person could have done the same thing. Perhaps.

For now, however, he kept his eyes on the trio of teachers- perhaps a bit more on Yuzuya and Nurse Sumire than the replacement judo club leader- and stayed out of their way. Cleaning was never something he did in public... and perhaps never did at home, either. Every gentleman had a maid, and it certainly seemed like Kramer had never gotten his hands dirty with housework of all things.
Mopping was a largely mindless task. Soak the mop, wring it out, scrub the floor. Repeat.

But Sumire-sensei's words broke her out of her simple thought-process. It had happened before? Ayumi paused in mid stroke and looked over at Sumire and Kramer with wide eyes.

"Did they ever find who did it?" What if the same killer was roaming around? What if...

Yuuichi shook his head and sighed as he sat in the windowsill. Ayumi let her eyes drift there before swallowing hard. Apparently he disagreed. What had done it, then? She had seen plenty of ghosts wandering the school grounds, but none had seemed violent.

Then again, maybe she hadn't gotten on their bad side... As much as she respected Sakai-sensei for his expertise and experience, well...he did have a tendency to get on people's...or spirits...bad sides.

Could there be a ghost or spirit capable of something so brutal?
"Hmm, yes, it did." Honestly, why would she lie about that? Sumire finished sweeping up and nodded to Yuzuya to throw away the debris. "They didn't find any proof of who'd done it, but the popular theory amongst my class was that it was the Princess in the Well." Sumire leaned against her broom and shrugged.

"Well, in any case, it won't stop the school's schedule. So don't worry, everyone. I'm sure everything will be taken care of."
Yuzu emptied the dustpan into the nearest wastebasket and straightened, surprised. Sumire's words chilled Yuzuya to the bone. So this wasn't the first time someone had died on campus? "Were you okay?" Yuzuya asked, concerned.

He'd known that Murakami-sensei was a little bit of what he'd call superstitious. But he'd never heard her attribute a person's death to a supernatural cause. A person's death, whom he had seen with his own two eyes. It hadn't looked like the work of a ghost or a fable to him-- a man's life was over. But he held his tongue. There were more important things at stake here. Now he was concerned for the safety of the rest of his coworkers.

Speaking of which, Ito-sensei was all alone upstairs in the Home Ec Room. His skin crawled.
"The Princess in the Well?" Kramer sounded skeptical, but not for any reasons that might be expected. his objection was over the fact that, unless someone had been pushed into said well, there was no way that she could be responsible for such a death. Besides, she'd likely be more interested in other uses for a man than killing them. The very thought made his skin crawl.

Still, he did have to brush his hair out of his face, the better to make his point. "If you're so certain, Nurse Sumire, then so much the better. After all, there can't be that many bladed weapons that are in working order, can there?" Of course, anyone with any real knowledge knew that witches had both a knife and a sword as part of their regalia... he had to wonder if she happened to keep one floating around.

Of course, he'd also have to wait and see if the kendo club had any, either. Doubtful, but one couldn't rule out such things.
Nurse Murakami's words made Ayumi go pale and it took her a moment to regain enough composition to continue mopping. She didn't dare ask any more questions here - not with the doubtful Kramer-sensei and Shibata-sensei. Perhaps she would talk to the nurse later on in private. There would be far less chance to have people stare and think her strange.

Once Ayumi was sure that color had returned to her face and she looked calm, she glanced up to observe the other three occupants of the room.
"I was fine," Sumire replied. "It was a long time ago, besides." Girls had liked the good-looking teacher, so they'd cried, but Sumire had been more concerned with other things back then. "I don't think that there are any weapons on campus that aren't something more relaxed, like the kendo club's things." Her sigh seemed to say, Swords on campus, be reasonable, Kramer-sensei! Sumire went back to chase a dust bunny away from one of the math teacher's desks.

"Anyway, the Princess was thrown in by her father for being promiscuous, and her guardian killed himself or was killed. I don't quite remember which. But he's the one you have to look out for, really." Sumire shrugged. She looked up at the clock, then at the clean floor.

"Well, I suppose I had better clean the infirmary once more before I go. There was some soot on the floor, and it just didn't want to come up."
"Bucket of hot water, a squirt of liquid soap and a quarter cup of baking soda, stir that up, and then add a quarter cup of vinegar," Yuzuya suggested, scratching his nose. "That's what I use on the lab floor. Let it soak and then mop it. Gets up just about anything."

He put away his gradebook in his desk, locked the drawer. Gathered up his coat. "Well. I, I think I'll go check on Ito-sensei, upstairs," he announced. "Um, We'll probably get some takeout, and watch movies, or something... i-if any of you feel like stopping by, you're welcome." He looked down at his desk, a somber look on his face. He was aware that his hands were shaking a little bit, and he folded them carefully under his coat and out of sight. "It's been an awful day. I don't really want to go home alone."

"Be back l-later," he said with a nod to the three of them, and he ducked out of the door.
Hm, it was all right for Yuzuya to be gone, though for the moment, Mr. Kramer had to wonder whether it was safe to go alone or not. Had the nurse voiced her 'good-looking teacher' comment aloud he'd have taken it as a threat, but as it was, he wasn't certain that anyone was really that safe. Especially when a ghostly coquette was involved.

Ah well. He steepled his fingers, and inclined his head towards the door. If she wished to leave, that was all right by him. "I'm afraid I've still got some papers left to grade, so I'll be here for awhile longer."

A pause, then a soft smile to Ayumi. The poor girl looked scared, though she composed herself soon thereafter, and he could hardly blame her. Though really, what could he say? Other than 'be careful,' though that was hardly something worth putting in these circumstances.