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Phasmophobia

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“Hey, want to do the campsite, or Tanglewood next?”

He hummed in thought, before shrugging. “It’s getting late, I’ll do a Tanglewood if you set it to nightmare.”

Leviathan smiled fondly as you nodded and set the settings. He didn’t think he’d enjoy this particular game as much as he did, since it was from the human world and all. But honestly, when hooking it up to his new, limited edition, total immersion 4D virtual reality console, he had the feeling it was going to be totally worth his while. It may have only been the first session he’d played with just you, but he had a good feeling that things were going his way, especially since you were clearly knowledgeable enough to play seriously.

“You’ve not played nightmare yet, have you? It’s the hardest difficulty, and there’s a lot of differences.” You said, but he just waved you off as he messed with the equipment in the lobby.

“Are you taking me for a normie? I’ll be fine, this game isn’t even that scary!”

No sooner had he said that, he realized the both of you were loading into the truck. You were already collecting your equipment, humming to yourself a song that you both had sung at karaoke a while back. Levi nodded in satisfaction, before turning to look at the board. “Uh, what’s wrong with the monitors?”

“Oh, didn’t I tell you? No sanity and no activity tracking. We’re going in blind. Hey, I’m taking EMF and a book.”

Levi chuckled nervously, flicking on his flashlight as he listened to the programmed radio talk about a supposed cursed object. They hadn’t run into one in their entire night of gaming, but suddenly he got a terrible feeling about what was to come. “Oh, I see… Ill take in a UV and a camera, then.”

But by that point, you were already gone, rushing to the front door with key in hand. Levi sighed, pouting that you’d left him behind again, but still, he felt like he couldn’t complain. After all, you’d set this whole night aside for him and him alone! Just the two of you! Gaming until dawn! He supposed he couldn’t be too upset over your eagerness and quickly followed you into the dark, cold and abandoned house.

The moment he stepped into the house; the ambiance kicked in. The soft noise of the rain pattered on the ceiling above him, and his breath came out in short puffs. Everything echoed, and the shadows were long and reaching from the dim light of his flashlight. He could hear you rummaging around in the kitchen, and quietly decided to investigate. His footsteps were loud, plodding heavily on the carpet as he wandered into the room.

He shone the light around slowly, expecting to see you near the counter where the noise came from, but you weren’t there. He blinked, his brow furrowing as he fully stepped into the room, scanning the shadows for you. “Hey, where are you? You’re not going to jump out at me – “

“Breaker’s on!” You suddenly shout from the basement with glee, your light footsteps racing up the stairs to join Levi by his side and shone your flashlight directly in his face. “What were you saying?”

“I was just about to ask – “Levi started, when suddenly he was cut off by the shrill beep of the EMF in your hand, and a cup crashing into the wall next to the two of you. Shrapnel from the ceramic scattered around your feet, causing you to yelp and turn into Levi’s side, hiding your face in his jacket. Levi’s blush was dark and immediate, and he suddenly shoved you away with one hand covering his mouth as he spoke. “What the heck? I-I need some personal space!”

“Ah, sorry, that just startled me.” You murmured softly, looking a little sheepish. “But I think we found the ghost room!”

Levi sighed and nodded, suddenly grinning as he looked around. He tried desperately not to think about the way your arms so naturally wrapped around his waist or the lingering scent of your cologne as you stepped a little farther back to toss the EMF on the counter near where the cup once was. “Yeah, we did! Dumb ghost was ready for us!”

As soon as he said that, the EMF went off yet again, and two forks came flying at them from the sink to stab the wall just by his forehead, a small bit of his navy hair caught in the prongs.

You laugh, gently reaching up to brush the hair free from its weak imprisonment. The back of your hand brushed against his cheek ever so slightly as you moved, dropping the forks to the floor with a loud clatter as you did so. “Try not to piss it off too much? I’d rather you be in one piece.”

“Uh, right.” Levi murmured softly, frozen for a moment as you backed up slightly.

“Well, I’m going to go find the bone, and there was a Ouija board in the basement, so Ill leave you here to do some more looking!” You said and suddenly were off like a rocket, taking the camera from his hands and leaving him alone, dumbfounded.

Levi cleared his throat and nodded, even though you weren’t there to see it. He was totally overthinking this, definitely. You didn’t mean to brush his cheek so tenderly; you were just getting him free after he antagonized the ghost. You just didn’t want to play alone, that’s all. Why would you want to touch a yucky, gross, dumb otaku like him?

Before he could linger on that thought for too much longer, the door leading to the garage burst open behind him, the sound echoing off the too quiet walls like a gunshot. Levi whirled around, UV in hand, aiming the weak, purple light at the door. The shadows were dark and looming, and even with his excellent eyesight he couldn’t see far. With a thick swallow, he crept closer to the door, doing everything he could to keep his footsteps quiet in case the ghost could somehow hear him. He frowned after a moment, scanning one side, then the other, looking up and down for anything out of the ordinary. He’d seen the fingerprints evidence on another map, but wasn’t seeing it here, and the constant puffing of his breath wasn’t helping either.

“Wait…” He whispered, and blew into the air, the exhale visible to the eye as a chill suddenly raced up his spine, causing goosebumps under his clothes. He suddenly felt as though he was being watched, as if there were eyes on the back of his head, and the cold leeched down to his fingers and toes, making him feel woefully underdressed. With a shake to his hand, he brought the radio up to his face. “Hey, we have freezing!”

“Hell yeah! I’m coming in with a camera and a spirit box.” You called back, and he was left in the dark silence once again. With his back against the wall, the quiet was overwhelming, the darkness enclosing slowly, as if it were meant to swallow him whole. He swallowed thickly, the hair on the back of his neck standing upright as he swore, he heard a soft gurgle come from somewhere to his left, but he dared not look. The sound got louder, and louder, forcing him to close his eyes tightly, hoping that it was just his imagination and not a real ghost coming for him.

“I’m here!” You suddenly called and tossed the tripod to the ground. “Hey, you wanna check for ghost orbs? I’m going to try the box over in this corner!”

Your voice was like a flash of light in the darkness for Levi. He nodded slightly, picking up the tripod with trembling hands. “This is a little scarier than the other difficulties, don’t you think…?” He asked softly, trying to keep his smile steady despite the obvious tremble in his voice. You were here, it was going to be fine. Even though he was sure you just saw him as a best friend, there was nothing wrong with using you as an anchor, just this once, right?

“Of course, that’s why it’s called nightmare!” You laughed, and flicked on the spirit box to fill the room with endless static. “Now, hush. I’m going to try speaking to it.”

Levi sighed. Of course. You were just a gaming buddy to him. Why did he ever thing for a second that you might need him as much as he needed you right now? He let his mind run in circles, absently looking around the room with the video camera, searching for orbs as the constant drone of questions spilled from your mouth nearby.

“Are you here? Are you close? Are you friendly? Are you French? How old are you? Are you young? Where are you?”

“I’m behind you.”

The voice was low, growling and coarse. It filled the room with an unnatural presence, despite emanating from the box in your hand. You yelped loudly and dropped it, and the moment the box it the floor it let out a loud, high-pitched screech, and the room was alight with dark red.

Every bulb was strobing frantically with a dark, blood red light, and Levi’s flashlight started flashing erratically in his hand. Between the two of you, stood a tall, deformed figure. Its body reeked of decay and death, shoulders slumped from rotting tendons and muscles, and its white, soulless eyes almost glowing in the frantic light of the groom. The gurgles returned, the spirit moaning from beyond the grave, its eyes locked on Levi as you trembled in fear behind it. Both of your gazes were locked on the long, curved blade in its hand, dripping with a dark liquid Levi feared was blood. As soon as it started, it stopped, with the sudden bursting of every bulb in the room, leaving the EMF wailing between you and the room stuck in total darkness.

“I think we should get out. Regroup in the truck.”

Levi nodded weakly and took a tentative step from the wall. “Agreed.”

You carefully took the lead, quietly walking through the house ahead of Levi. He trailed behind quietly, chewing on his lip to hide his whimpers. He could see you were trembling too, the flashlight shaking slightly in your hand, and despite the silence of your gate you were clearly rushing to the door. No matter how far you seemed to rush, the front door felt much too far away. But Levi sighed softly, as soon as you both were out, he could forget the way he wanted to rush to your side when the ghost appeared, forget how vulnerable you looked up to him and forget how much he wanted to hold you close but knew you wouldn’t want anything like that.

Right as the two of you began to cross the threshold, the door abruptly slammed in your face, the sound of the lock deafening in the hallway as the EMF in the other room began screaming again. The flashlight in Levi’s hand started to flicker, and as he looked up at your expression, he knew things had gotten much worse. The ghost’s heavy footsteps echoed in the hall behind him, the heartbeats loud in his ears as it set its sights on hunting him first, and you second.

You were frozen in your tracks behind him. Levi knew you wanted to run for the hiding spots, but the shock of the ghost event had sucked the bravery out of you. So, without a second thought, Levi grabbed your wrist tightly, and rushed towards the closest bedroom. His grip was tight, firm but gentle as he hurriedly flung you into the closet first, and himself second, slamming the doors shut to break line of sight with the ghost. He knew he got lucky, this closet wasn’t always open, but this time there was just barely enough room for the two of you to fit.

He looked over at you, face full of concern and fear, breaths escaping in frantic pants. His eyes almost glowed in the darkness, but suddenly you reached over and flicked off his flashlight, turning yours off too, leaving you both in total darkness. As Levi’s eyes adjusted to the light, he could also see that you were fearful and panting, your entire body trembling from the shock. Even though it was just a game, every scare was enhanced tenfold from the 4D VR system. Levi carefully reached out to put a comforting hand on your shoulder, when suddenly you were in his arms again, hugging him close and burying your face in his shirt.

Levi carefully tilted your head up, meeting your gaze with a nervous glare and a bright blush. Thankfully, he was certain you couldn’t see it in the low light. He was just about to whisper comforts in your ear, when suddenly the footsteps began again, stomping heavily through the bedroom. It walked a few steps and stopped, before the stomping became louder, and louder, and only in the last second did Levi realize it was making a beeline for the closet doors. He looked down at you, and a soft whimper started to escape, and in a moment of impulse he crashed his lips against yours to silence your fearful cry.

Your lips were so soft against his, he realized after a moment. He’d done this only to stop the ghost from finding your hiding spot from your voice, but even that excuse was quickly fading from his mind as he focused intensely on your lips and how after a moment you pushed back, returning the gesture as your hands went from clutching his shirt to slowly moving up his back. All Levi could focus on was the slightly sweet taste on your lips, maybe it was from the soda you’d had while he was setting everything up. He tried to keep his focus on the warmth radiating from where your bodies were touching, how your hands pulled him closer and how the trembling from both of you stopped.

The footsteps stopped, pausing just outside of the closet doors, and for a few, long and tense moments, all was quiet before the heavy plodding continued on, quietly fading as the ghost moved into the rest of the house.

You broke the kiss first, panting softly as you licked your lips to savor the warmth of Levi’s for a moment longer. He was looking down at you, dazed and flushed, his own breaths mingling with yours. You could only stare at him for a few moments, before he blushed and pulled away, and you did the same.

“I… Uh, I think the hunt is over.” Levi murmured after a moment. “We should go, you know…”

“Back to the truck? Yeah.” You echoed and quietly peered outside the closet and into the dark house. Neither of you wasted any time in escaping this time, and only when you were back inside the safe zone of the truck did you relax.

The whole run there, Levi was quietly berating himself for what he’d done. How could he? You clearly didn’t want to be with him, so why did he kiss you like that? He was gross and stupid, and you were so perfect, and fragile, and in that moment, you tasted so good, and…! No, stop, he told himself quickly. He didn’t need a 3D partner, he was fine, he was…

Suddenly the train of thought crashed and burned when you leaned over, kissing his cheek chastely with a small smile. “Thanks. For saving me back there. We’ll have to do that again.

“Huh?” Levi could only stare at you dumbly. “You want to get hunted again?”

“No, but being locked in a closet with you was pretty nice.” You laughed, and reached around him to press the keypad on the truck that would send you back to the lobby, your hand brushing his side and the last thing he saw before it was replaced with a loading screen was your playful yet flirtatious smirk.