Countless cars whizzed by; stopping and resuming movement with the blinking of red and green. People walked along the sidewalk; blurry in grey and blue and other colour hues. Weightless, white snowflakes fell amongst the bustling city of Tokyo; unfelt except for the biting cold they left in their wake.

It was an ordinary Monday in December for Yuushi Itou, when the snow dampened the grey asphalt he walked back from work, day by day, alongside other nameless faces; an honest salaryman, a newlywed, working to feed and build his new home. Everywhere he looked he can feel Christmas in the air; it's spelled on the display window of every possible shop, it's pictured in the Santa-clad man shouting 'Ho, ho, ho!' outside the big shopping mall. Yuushi stopped in front of a jewellery shop displaying a delicate platinum bracelet with the tiniest sparkling diamonds carefully etched along its line; but quickly realized that even the amount of money he made a year couldn't afford this piece of exquisiteness. But if only he could buy this for Asuka…ah, what wouldn't he give just to see his beautiful wife smiled her radiant smile; it's the remedy of all ills, he always say, then she would smile and blushed prettily at his remark.

A few steps away from the display window Yuushi stopped in front of a shabby beggar, dropping him some of the coins he had in his pocket. The beggar had looked up at him with bleary eyes and a grateful expression on his face; apparently a kind soul like Yuushi is a rare case nowadays. 'Thank you, good sir, thank you. May God bless you and grant your wish, thank you, sir,' Yuushi left the old beggar with a smile and a nod, and wondered whether God listened to a beggar's prayer. If He somehow does, I was thinking on getting my memory back for my Christmas present, he thought, and shook his head quickly over the thought. Whenever he thought about his amnesia a kind of debate will arise inside his mind; with a part of him fervently hoping and trying to revive his past, and another part of him insisting on preserving his present and fearing his past would disrupt things. But surely, what harm could a man's past bring? And another voice quickly adds, be careful what you wish for, Yuushi.

That was when he saw the slumped figure of a man beside the red post box, unmoving except for his slow, laboured breathing. He seemed to be leaning heavily on the concrete box; his face covered by his body and his body by a long trenchcoat. At first Yuushi had dismissed the man as a drunkard; but taking another look at his expensive black leather coat, wondered how could a man like that afford such clothing. Then he heard a grunt and a moan from the man, and seeing that he had difficulty trying to stand up, came nearer to try and help the man out.

'Come mister, let me help you…' Yuushi felt something wet oozed onto his hand which is holding the man's side, and gasped when he drew his hand away. Blood… he thought. The man nearly fell from the loss of support, and had grabbed Yuushi's collar. He fell on his knees while the man landed on his back on the sidewalk. Now he can clearly see a white-handled dagger buried to the hilt in the man's stomach; and the red liquid already drenching half of the man's grey cotton turtleneck. Yuushi opened his mouth in shock but nothing comes out of it; but he could clearly hear the man's mutterings.

'Go…way…go…You…You-ji?'

'Mister, mister, can you hear me? I'm calling the ambulance now, hang on…' Yuushi scrambled in his pockets for his cell phone; and when he found it, started dialing.

'Hello, 911? I have an injured man here; a deep knife wound probably near his kidney, bleeding non-stop…'


'…it would be of both our companies' best interest to agree on…'

'…we believe it would benefit both consortiums…'

'…then it's done. It's a pleasure doing business with you, Mr. Hanagata.'

'Perhaps I am the one who should say so, Mr. Takatori,'

Mamoru Takatori had stood up and smiled to the elder man in front of him. Then he bowed a bit, for the sake of custom, and said, 'Now let me excuse myself,' before starting towards the door.

'Surely you would join us tonight at the banquet hall, Mr. Takatori?' Reiji Hanagata, the chairman of Hanagata and Co. called from behind him.

'No. Unfortunately I can't. I'm a very busy man, Mr. Hanagata. I would have to decline your generous offer,' without so much as turning his head, he resumed walking. Immediately the doorman had the door opened for him, and bowed respectfully as the 18 years-old Takatori mogul left the room; a blue-haired secretary, a white-clad young man and a sultry red-head in tow.

'Your room had been scanned, checked and debugged twice. It's clean. We've positioned two of Knight's men to guard the door; and as you requested, no security for the windows. Would you like dinner sent up to you?' Queen ended her report with a question.

'No. I'm not hungry. Just send some strong black coffee regularly. I have a lot to work on tonight.'

Behind him a he heard a soft click of a cell phone; Lakers had been talking quietly since they left the meeting room. 'Sir, I think you might like to be informed about this,' she paused, as if uncertain, but her next statement was filled with a tinge of wonder and anxiousness, it took a lot for Mamoru Takatori to resume a straight face and continue walking to the elevator door.

'Sir, they've finally started on the Holy Cross,' if one listened carefully, it seems that Lakers is almost breathless. 'And they're inquiring whether you wanted the white roses to go with it,' she paused again. 'also the cattleyas…they're in season again.'

It took all of the steel-hard guts of Takatori Mamoru to not freeze in his tracks, kept walking and maintained a straight face. It took all of his being to stop little Omi from crying.

'We're heading down to my car. Call the chauffeur. We'll talk this over on our way there.'

Four silent figures entered the elevator car, and the door, wooden with intricate gold décor shut closed before them.


'Call our hospital, Lakers. Have our men delay the General Hospital ambulance, or whatever, as long as we have both Abyssinian and Balinese in ours.'

'Don't worry, Persia. It's been taken care of.'

'Thank you, Lakers.'

She thought she'd heard Persia choked a bit on his words.


'She'd mean Aya and Youji, didn't she?' there was bewilderment in Knight's face, and he was a bit breathless.

'Yes, and don't get excited,' Queen watched the black limousine disappear easily against the darkness of the night.

'Well, if that kid as much as ordered any stupid commands on them again, I swear…'

'Hush, my Knight,' winding her arm up to Knight's pocketed one, she suavely turned and walked back down the red carpet. 'You're blind in your anger, love. That kid had tears hidden behind those blue eyes the moment Lakers finished reporting.'

She had smiled sweetly at the young man holding the door open for them, and blown him a kiss.

end of chapter 1


a/n : constructive as well as destructive criticism are welcomed. tell me if this is worth a continuation. thank you for reading.