Note: For Fic_promptly, prompt "Any, Any, I lost my faith in the world / When you disappeared."

Quietly Stirring The Dirt
by Estirose
c 2012

She felt like she was the ghost the first time she was around living people.

The taxi driver who dropped her in front of their place said nothing, but she had to wonder if he was going to turn around, face ghostly, hands reaching for her to drag her into the afterlife. It was only when he accepted her money with warm, solid hands that she was able to shake off the sense that she hadn't died in that place with Mafuyu.

Miku wondered if he'd felt pain when he died, if he was dead. He might still be alive in there, but she doubted that, because he would have known he'd have to die to keep Kirie company.

Nobody had been there for her when Mafuyu went missing. She'd left a message with his friend Aso Yuu, but the man hadn't called back. And of course, nobody else had come with her to the supposedly-abandoned house. She wouldn't have if she'd had a choice. But it had been up to her to find and rescue Mafuyu, and now he was gone, and she'd failed him. She'd abandoned him as he had abandoned her.

No, he hadn't abandoned her, really. He was kind and sweet, and he hadn't known what she'd gone through to find him. That's what she had to think. He saw a person in pain - Kirie - and he'd made a decision to relieve that pain, even if it killed him.

But with him gone, who would be there for her? Sure, she was almost an adult, but she felt so adrift. She knew eventually, she had to do something with Mafuyu's things, but she wasn't able to.

Who would she be able to ask? Who, besides Mafuyu, could she trust?

She thought about going back to the Mansion. Digging through the rubble, crawling back into the chamber. Joining Mafuyu and Kirie for eternity.

There was a light on the answering machine, blinking steadily. She rewound the tape, steeling herself to listen to the disembodied voice. She'd listened to so many tapes back there, last words from dead people, and she wondered if the person calling was dead, too.

But that was ridiculous.

"Hi, this is Aso Yuu. Miku-chan, I'm sorry I didn't call you earlier and I hope you're home. Let me know what's going on, and I'll help you find Mafuyu. And if something's happened to him, give me a call too."

She touched the phone tentatively, as if her fingers would go right through it. It remained solid, and she forced herself to dial Aso-san's number.

"Hello?" It was a woman's voice.

"I'm looking for Aso Yuu?" Miku wished her voice sounded less tentative, but she wasn't completely assured that she'd dialed the right number.

"Just a moment." The woman was calling for Aso-san, by his given name, and Miku realized after a moment that this was Rei-san, Aso-san's girlfriend. She wondered if Rei-san had been why Aso-san had been away.

"Miku-chan?" Aso-san's reassuring voice came on the line. "Are you all right?"

"Mafuyu… Mafuyu's gone. Under Himuro Mansion." There was a hiccup in her voice, and she tried not to cry.

"He…." There was silence on the other end. "I'll be there as soon as I can. Rei, too. Are you okay until then?"

She wondered how he could be so calm, and where he had been, and why hadn't he been there for her and Mafuyu. But the words, the accusations, wouldn't come out.

"Miku-chan? Are you still there?"

She wished she was a ghost, and didn't have to deal with this. Not Mafuyu's things, not Aso-san, not anything. A sob erupted from her, and she couldn't answer her brother's friend. Instead, she let the tears out, thinking of how to get back to Himuro Mansion and its underground passages, how to escape from all of the pain.

"I'm coming, Miku-chan. Don't go anywhere." Aso-san sounded worried, and she wasn't sure why. She wondered if she could leave, if she had the energy to do that before Aso-san and his girlfriend came, and didn't think she did.

He hung up, and she replaced the phone on its base. She wasn't sure how she could face Aso-san, knowing that her brother was dead. But did it really matter? She'd survive, and she'd go back, and she'd be with her brother, forever.