Chapter 40:

Best Wishes

Red is the Color of You

     Just to ease his heart a bit more, Wraith walks Izumi home when his mother catches them exchanging an amorous farewell. Although a little embarrassed, he’s honest with his mom and truthfully explains their new-found relationship. Kanae, being the mother she is, excitedly congratulates the couple and invites Wraith into the house but he respectfully declines considering he needed to get back to his own affairs. Once inside Izumi collapsed on the couch with Lala wagging her tail and nuzzling her wet nose against his face, begging for the missed attention, his mother sitting beside him.

“You told me you were going out with a friend this morning!” She half heartedly scolded.

“I was! And I came back with a boyfriend, which I didn’t expect either belieeeve me.”

“To think that you would end up not just meeting but DATING the guy from the ghost story I used to tell you all the time. Do you still remember how you used to pronounce his name?”

“Remanant.” Izumi smiled as he happily ruffled Lala’s fur, recollecting the fond memories with his mother.

“Yep! I used to always correct you and you did it anyways. Ahh…you grew up, Izumi.”

Hearing Kanae’s change in tone, he perks up, letting Lala go and looking at his mom. “What do you mean?”

“You really like him. I’d even go as far as to say you’d gladly spend the rest of your life with him.”

For once, Izumi didn’t have an outward denial or embarrassment, only shifting his eyes to the coffee table. “....what gave it away?”

“How you look at him. Nothing gets past a mother. At the least I can say I think he feels the same about you, he had this sort of aloofness when he was with you and he doesn’t strike me as someone to normally act like that, at least based on the stories about him and how he was when you first introduced us. I was really worried for a second because it had been so long since you properly dated someone so I hoped that he would be nice.”

“And you could tell that he is just from that?”

“Told you, mother’s intuition.” Kanae smirked. “In short, he has my blessing. I think he’ll treat you well.”

“You know they only say that for marriage right..?”

“What, you don’t wanna get married? I’m trying to have a son-in-law!”

“NOOO nonono!! It’s way too soon to be talking about that!”

“It’s never too soon! If you can’t give me a grandchild at least give me a son-in-law.” She pinches Izumi’s cheeks and he pulls his face away, rubbing the sting with a scowl.

It was most definitely too early to think about marriage, but the thought still swirled about him. Would Wraith be alright with that kind of commitment? He didn’t mind himself, and he also didn’t mind if Wraith didn’t want to. After all, they wouldn’t necessarily gain or lose much, since Wraith lives in a completely different circle. But that was something to contemplate some other day if at all.


     In the meantime, for the first time in what could've been centuries Lavina was cordially invited to Wraith's home to a banquet with his followers. He too had relayed his relationship status to them, which naturally included the usual trio as well, and they had insisted upon feasting to celebrate. Truthfully however, he had called Lavina for a different reason. The notable five were seated together but not too far away from the rest; still, they spoke in a quieter tone that would end up lost in the robust chatter, letting their conversation stay a secret.

“Think about it more rationally, Wraith. What could Vahan possibly gain by targeting Izumi?” Lavina exchanged a blow from her pipe with a sip of wine. 

She wasn't much for eating and surprisingly could go quite long without doing so. Comparatively, Neio finds food one of the greatest joys in life, although Dahlia and Faelan would side with Lavina's opinion on the matter. Wraith had once held the same opinion as Neio, but with his time spent with Izumi, he began to steadily agree with Lavina.

“And you think Barron would come up with some elaborate plan?” He questioned as he took a sip from his glass.

“You’re underestimating Barron. I don’t know why you think he’s incompetent.”

“I just can’t see him essentially sending a spy, isn’t his thing. And I doubt he would do anything without the support of someone else.”

“The latter I agree with. Still, I just can’t understand their motive. Obviously it isn’t to kill Izumi, they wouldn’t really do much from that.”

“Maybe he wants to talk to him?” Neio intrudes. “Vahan’s weird like that it might not be as menacing as you think.”

Quickly, Wraith shook off the thought. “There’s a thousand different ways to go about it, I doubt that he figured the best way to talk to him was to set up some elaborate trap in a hostile spirit city.”

Faelan, who’s usually just about as quiet as Dahlia, comes up with a speculation of his own, “Or he wants to see what he means to you.”

“Or both.” Dahlia affirms.

“That!” Slamming her hand against the dining table, Lavina excitedly grins. “Both I think. He wants to know what Izumi means to you and vice versa. From there he can figure out what to do with the whole thing. I don’t think his intentions are currently hostile, maybe they are to you, but at least not to Izumi. Weirdly enough people have been coming to the library more often too, had some even look at what few books I have on mediums so he probably knows he's human too at this point. I’d suggest just waiting honestly, let him put more cards down first.”

“And in the meantime hope all of you right?” Sighing, Wraith runs his fingers through his hair, trying to comb the stress away. “Great.”


“HCK-ckjh- WHAT?!” Nearly choking on his coffee in the process, Eiji shouted, the other patrons glaring at him so he reiterates in a lower voice, “I mean, what?! Dating?! Just two seconds ago you were telling me that you just liked him!” Even though he should’ve seen the news coming, considering he spoke to both Izumi and Wraith and knew of their affections toward each other, he still gives an exaggerated reaction.

“Yea and then he asked me out and I have no reason to reject him so now we’re dating.” Izumi calmly states. 

They were sitting in front of a coffee shop with several other outdoor seats around them. Since it was early in the morning, they were nearly all filled. 

At this point, it had been a little over a week since the couple started dating. Izumi wanted to tell him sooner, but work on both ends caused schedule conflicts, and he much preferred to relay the news in person. Even now, he was occupied with work as he had to leave in a few hours for his shift.

“Ugh I don’t even know what to say. You do realize he’s not human right?”


“And that he basically kills people like you and me for a living? Sorry, not just kills, EATS them?!!” He tried to say in a quiet yell.


“And you don’t have a problem with that?!!”

“Look I don’t know how to explain why I don’t, but I don’t. It’s not as bad as you think and HE’S not as bad as you think.”

“He could flick you and split your head in two! What the fuck?!! Are you hearing yourself?!”

“Eiji you’re judging your entire perception of him based off of ONE interaction with him months ago!” Edging on frustration, Izumi groans and rolls his eyes, mumbling, “Maybe I should’ve just waited to tell you if you were gonna be such an ass about it.”

“Oh, so now I can’t look out for my best friend? You have a habit of dating bad guys and all I’ve seen in him is the same traits of the others just amplified a hundred fold!”

“Ok tell me then. How is he like them since you know him better than I do apparently.”

“Always wants sex, always makes you do whatever he wants, always putting you in harms way-”

“Never pressured me for sex, always makes sure that I’m ok with everything first, and I’m the one always putting myself in danger, if anything he’s the one who keeps me safe-”

An annoyingly familiar voice suddenly bursts his ears. “IZUMI?!!” The shaggy man rushes over, completely ignoring the equally annoyed customers. “You mind if I sit? I wanted to get a drink before work and it’s packed man!” Takeda tries to catch his breath, pushing his glasses back up.


“No, not at all go ahead.” Eiji interrupts, sarcastically smiling at Izumi who returns a glare.

“Sick thanks! So, I don’t think we’ve met. Friend of Izumi’s?”

“Yes just a friend.” Izumi quickly answers which Eiji just as quickly corrects.

“BEST friend.”

Izumi cocks his head in irritation and tries to telepathically tell Eiji to shut up. Takeda was already on Izumi’s case enough, the last thing he needed was more information to tattletale to Vahan or whoever.

“Even closer than I am! How long have you known each other?”

“A year.”


The best friends locked eyes in a standoff. Questions would only continue to rain and Eiji would only continue to blurt truths. He knew this would happen and he didn’t want to humor either of them. Almost immediately, Izumi stood from the table in an attempt to escape.

“Hey! Where are you going I just sat down!”

“I’ve got things to do before work. I’ll see you then.” He tried to cut the conversation as quickly as possible, not even staying long enough for Takeda to exchange a goodbye. As he took two steps at a time, Eiji rushed after him, grabbing his arm.

“What the hell is wrong with you?”

“What’s wrong with me? What’s wrong with you! You can’t take a fucking hint Eiji?! You think I’d introduce you as a friend just to be petty?”

“Then why? Why’d you lie when you’d basically gain nothing from it?”

“It’s a long story that I’m not in the mindset to explain right now and at this rate ever. I should be asking you why you can’t just trust me, not just about earlier but about Wraith too!”

“Just tell me then why Wraith is so great and I’m so wrong!”

“I’ve been trying to tell you and you won’t listen to me!” Shaking Eiji’s grasp, Izumi exhales his vexation. “Maybe when you’re not a stubborn hotheaded bull I’ll try and get it into your head again but right now just leave me alone. We’re just gonna keep going back and forth and it’s exhausting. I have to get to work.” 

Without another word nor a farewell, Izumi turns away. For a moment, Eiji debates running after him once more, but the ring of Izumi’s words halt his legs.