Chapter 16:

To Look Him In The Eye

Red is the Color of You

     An uncomfortable silence filled the space between the two bodies. Something about Wraith seemed even more unapproachable than before, greatly conflicting Izumi. He thought that he made progress with Wraith, but somehow the events of the previous night put a wedge between the two of them rather than merging them together. Defeat and frustration started to simmer in the coral boy’s chest, but he knew he couldn’t give up yet. It was likely a temporary issue. Maybe he had something on his mind? But it was coincidentally after they were together, and he clearly doesn’t look like he wants to talk. 

To verify if he was in his own thoughts too much, Izumi decided to attempt to spark a conversation with Wraith to gauge him. The moment he takes a breath to speak, Wraith side eyes him, throwing him off, but he tries anyway.

“U-um, what’s your home like?” A firm clasp on his clothes, his eye contact with Wraith wavers along with what little confidence he had.

“My home? Why do you ask?” At the least, the tone of his voice didn’t seem disinterested or bothered, which is a good sign.

“Well, Neio was talking to me about it earlier when you stepped out, and I just got kinda curious is all…”

“Whatever he said I’m sure he was exaggerating. It’s just a normal house, just big since it has to fit all my members.”

“What about your room?”


This isn’t working, maybe something else, Izumi breathes his mental frustrations out and switches the topic.

“On a different note I guess...what um….I know I haven’t done it in awhile and all that but-”

“Why doesn’t it hurt?”

“Yea…..” The urge to suffocate himself into a pillow and scream his lungs out grows the longer this poor excuse of a conversation continues.

“I used magic. If I had to hear you complaining about the pain later it’d annoy me, especially since I tried to be as gentle as possible. But…” Juxtaposing his past mannerisms, Wraith closes the distance and whispers sweet nothings, finally relaxing Izumi, “You surprised me, my little harlot. You were thoroughly enjoying yourself.”

Heat and a fervent vermillion color fills Izumi’s once snowy skin as he inadvertently attempts to create distance between the two of them, stumbling on his words, “S-shut upp!!” His efforts are pitiably futile, since Wraith wraps his arms around him and playfully smirks. Even though Izumi wanted to break the ice, this isn’t how he wanted to do it.

“Of all the people I’ve been with, the way you say my name do I put it? I adore it.” The lack of space between them allows for Wraith’s breath to delicately graze Izumi’s skin. “You know, you almost seemed to melt in my hands the more I caressed you. Did you really enjoy it that much?”

He’d rather tear out his gallbladder, eat it, and repeat the process several times than answer that question, but the moment catches him by surprise at his own words that escape him, nodding and responding with, “Your...tongue piercing….” Wraith’s smug smirk smears wider, knowing where he’s going, despite Izumi somewhat mumbling the next few words, “ turns me on…”

Satisfied, Wraith leaves Izumi with a brief phrase, “Is that so?” A hand snakes around Izumi’s neck, giving Izumi a not-so gentle reminder about how infatuated he was by Wraith’s tongue piercing, melting once more into Wraith’s embrace. Their spin only lasts for a fleeting instance, an important question bursting into the mind of Izumi, pushing the now confused Wraith away.

“Did you cum inside me?”

“Pfft-HAHAHA- what!!! That’s so random-” Thoroughly amused by the genuine nature of his question, Wraith nearly bursts a blood vessel in laughter.

“I’m serious!!!!”

“I know you are! That’s what makes it funny-ahh I can’t that’s hilarious. Yes I did, why?”

“You didn’t even ask!”

“Not like you’d get pregnant. And you passed out immediately anyways, so I cleaned it up for you. What, do you want me to ask from now on?”

“I….but….I don’t even know why I asked ughhhh…” In full embarrassment, Izumi groans, the burn in his ears causing inflammation all around.

Feeling a bit remorseful, Wraith ruffles his hair. “It’s alright, Izumi. That’s why I like being with you, you’ve got this cute aspect that I love, but you have your... moments let's say.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

“It’s a compliment, I promise. In short, you’re cute, but hot. It wasn’t a one sided affair.”

“I don’t know if that makes me feel any better.”

Now Wraith feeling a bit defeated, he sighs and lifts himself from the couch. “Then I’m not sure what to say honestly. I...have something to do so I’m gonna see myself out. If you ever need anything, you know how to call.”

     Without another moment wasted, Wraith leaves a now baffled Izumi to his humiliation and self-consciousness. In order to shake his immense shame, Izumi met up with Eiji and vented his frustrations, coming to terms with the fact he had more suppressed emotions than he expected as the majority of his speech is in a riled voice, but not to Eiji’s surprise, who gave him the usual I told you he gave me bad vibes lecture. 

Still, as much as Wraith poked and teased, Izumi couldn’t help but like him. Like him? did he feel about Wraith…? With a shake of his head, the thought was blacklisted for the time being. Hence, he tried his best to put his thoughts and feelings towards the erratic man aside and focus on his day to day life, specifically, he began to think up his next article. 

He already completed and published the previous one by this time, and it did well, but he needed more. For a polished resume, he couldn't just have one successful work; although some lower end jobs would be willing to accept him, he wasn’t willing to accept a small paycheck. Afterall, whatever job he would have in the field needed to compensate for the loss in pay of his current occupations and preferably more. Doing another article on a murder would only prove that Izumi knew how to do one thing, so he decided not to go down that path, in addition to the fact that he could’ve died the previous time. 

The last thing he wanted was another diatribe from not just his mother and Eiji, but from Wraith as well. Although Wraith wasn’t as verbal as the other two the first time, Izumi knew in his heart that another near miss would send Wraith into a wild spin of rage at his carelessness. Even now, he feels a bit guilty for not calling Wraith sooner, but he can’t change the past, and at the least, he came out of it unscathed although by sheer luck. 

A murky Izumi wiped down the tables of his normal cafe job, still never finding the answer to his question on a topic after several days. What do the people want to know? What would they find interesting? As interesting as crime stories are, having flexibility in the field would show his strength. But what else was there? Tourist spots wouldn’t catch anyone’s attention, and that’s more something he could write after already landing a job. Celebrity drama is interesting to the masses at times but is very much so yellow journalism, which Izumi despised above all types. 

Almost as if his prayers were heard, while cleaning the dining tables, he overheard a pair of customers in a nearby booth.

“Did you hear about that town out in the countryside?”

“The haunted one?”

“Yea, well, that’s what they say at least.”

“There’s no way it isn’t haunted though! Anyone who goes there ends up missing, no body, no nothing. What else would you call that? Just a random coincidence?”

“I don’t know man, all I can say is that it’s reaaaaaal creepy…”

     A haunted town? That might actually work...hits that same mystery aspect that people love without me falling into crime stories again, unless it’s crime related I guess but I suppose I wouldn’t know until I tried. Plus, I’ve basically got a paranormal expert with me, it should work...Maybe I should call him and ask?


A familiar body plops into the booth that Izumi was cleaning, scaring him shitless.


“What’s up?” Wraith asks nonchalantly, not realizing the few people looking over in confusion at the sudden yelp. Izumi waves that everything is fine and redirects his attention back to the oblivious selective idiot, raising his voice in a whisper.

“Don't!!!! Do that!!!!!!!”

“Do what?”

“Randomly appear like that!!!”

“Well I was bored and you called so I decided to cut to the chase. I was hoping you had something for me, so…? Do you?”

“Kind of, I wanted to get your thoughts on something.” Wraith gestures for Izumi to sit down with him. “I can’t, I’m technically working right now.”

“It’s fine if they come over I’ll tell them I asked you to, customer’s always right.”



Reluctantly, Izumi sits across from Wraith, worryingly glancing over at times, hoping his coworkers don’t catch him.

“So?” Wraith ushers Izumi to continue.

“I was trying to think of something for my next article and I overheard these people talking about this haunted town. I remember hearing about it before in passing, so I don’t really know too much, but I wanted to ask what you think.”

“Well, do you have anything else you could give me? Haunted town doesn’t really tell me much.”

“It’s somewhere in the country apparently and anyone who went to check it out went missing. Here,” Izumi flips through his phone and scrolls through articles on the town, quickly skimming them. “The residents of the town reportedly disappeared and after the fact, the investigators did as well, which started the cycle of people entering the town and never coming out. It’s about here.” Turning his phone towards Wraith, he shows him where it’s located.

“Hmm. It’s in unclaimed territory so at the least we don’t have to worry about some specter getting mad at us for snooping around. Thing is, it’s not in a known spirit hangout either…” Wracking his brain for a second, Wraith ultimately comes to a conclusion, “Consider me intrigued. It’d probably make a good piece for you too. When’d you wanna check it out? I imagine it’d take a few days, considering the distance and how much ground we have to cover, but since you have work and all, how’d you plan to go about it?”

“I can take a few days off, I never really took a vacation so I’ve got some days saved. Maybe the start of next week? You can come by and we’ll go together.”

“Fine by me.” Wraith thinks to himself once more and mumbles, “I do wonder though…” Noticing Izumi’s curiosity, Wraith shakes his head. “Nothing. I’ll see you later then.” 

Without a moment’s notice, Wraith exits the cafe as Izumi concerningly observes his back. What was on his mind just then?