Chapter One

Thick, ashy clouds loomed over the busy city of Tokyo. It was mid day, cars flooding the streets and people crowding the sidewalks. The high-pitched rings of cell phones and the stressed voices of business men and women shouting into their cell phones made the city alive.

Amongst all this walked Haru Ichikawa, a young journalist who just started her career. Her life dream was to become a journalist; no matter what obstacles she would have to face. She carried herself with confidence and pride, and tended to be rather nosey and stubborn. But she was very conniving, and always managed to slip a story from seemingly nowhere. And to top it all off, she could make her writing as vivid as an image.

Haru was a small, thin lady; with pale skin and dark, thin hair. Her eyes were a dark, ominous brown; usually lit up with 'Kiss-Me-Pink' eyeshadow and brown eye-liner. She usually wore a dressy t-shirt and skirt when on business, otherwise dressed casually.

Her stroll was quite lazy as she gazed thoughtfully at the dark clouds. Eventually she stopped, a spark of curiosity in her eyes. She was just a small child when Tokyo's last massive incident struck. She could not remember anything, but how she wished she could! And it was all due to something created by people's minds.

That's right. That Shounen Bat kid. Lil' Slugger, rather.

She flicked a lock of hair from her eyes, a grimace etching across her glossed lips. She began to dreamily stroll, her eyes locked on the sky.

"If only I could interview him now...the envy I'd get from-"

Her words were broken off as she bumped into something large and soft. She gasped, startled, and jerked back, gazing with a horrified expression at whatever she managed to bump into. She held herself as if she'd just touched some sort of monstrous spider or something.

But it was no spider. It was a middle aged man, with messy jet black hair and interesting green eyes. A frown twisted across Haru's lips as she cleared her throat.

"Oh uh, sorry...?" She began, hoping he'd finish her sentence with his name. He brushed himself off, staring at her oddly.

"Ken'Ichi Fujino." He spoke in an irritated voice, straightening himself up as if he were to belittle the confident news reporter. Haru's eyes widened, her jaws ajar.

"Ken'Ichi Fujino! The creator of the popular Saburo!" She cried, eyeing him. No, he couldn't be serious...she had just bumped into someone THAT important? The CREATOR of a the major character Saburo!

"That's me." He responded with a defiant grin. "Now if you'd excuse me..." He muttered, beginning to step past her. He gave her no second thought.

"Wait!" She cried, stepping in front of him. She bowed as if she were begging for mercy, her words shaken.

"I'm so sorry, sir!" She muttered, glancing up. She reached out for his arm. "Please, I must ask you a few questions-"

"Bah! I should have known you were one of those nosey reporters!" He snarled, jerking back. Turning the other way, he glanced over his shoulder.

"Yes. I've seen you on T.V. I won't have a word with you. Good day." He stated bluntly, walking off rather quickly. Haru only watched, stunned. Her big chance to land a huge success in her career was walking away from her. Hurrying after him, she refused to give up.

"PLEASE sir, just a few questions!" She begged, weaving through the people in a frenzy. She was losing him. "I really need to..." She trailed off, staring through the sea of people. They were once invisible to her, but now she strained to find the figure of Mr. Ken'Ichi Fujino. He was nowhere in sight.

In grief she left; once heading for a cup of coffee but now heading back to the station. It was her lunch break; but she had lost her appetite. And her big story.

At the station a co-worker grinned to hear about her loss. However she stifled it, filing some papers at her desk. Her curious blue eyes wandered over the stress Haru, her posture straightening.

"Oh, Haru, you'll get a story soon." She assured, her wrinkled face straining to create a positive grin. She was at a ripe old age, one of the many to have gone through the incident on Tokyo with Shounen Bat.

"After all, you're such a...bright reporter." She complimented, flicking her wrist. Haru nodded, walking away. She plopped in her seat at her desk, staring at the computer screen. There was a cute picture of the fuzzy kitty Saburo as her desktop wallpaper. It only reminded of her loss earlier.

"Hello, Ms. Ichikawa." Came a voice from behind. Flinching, Haru knew exactly who it was. It was Renzo Sawabashi, or her boss. He was a plump man, with rosy cheeks and a menacing looking face. He had stubble but no beard, and hard brown eyes. A worried grin had crossed his thin lips.

"Busy, I see..." His eyes drifted to the blank computer screen. Haru sighed.

"I heard about your big blow." He muttered, resting his arm on the corner of the half-wall that enveloped her small desk on three sides. There were many rows like this. Haru lowered her gaze to the floor.

The truth was, Haru had not gotten a good story for the past few weeks. The boss' patience was thinning, and if she didn't come up with something soon, she was going to lose her job.

"Don't let it get you down. You'll have a good story soon..." He assured hesitantly, gazing at her sharply. "Right?"

His words stabbed her. No. Not right! The stress was weighing her down. Her gaze slowly and painfully drifted up to him.

The past few weeks had been hell for her. She ran around, chasing somebody or another for a big story. Her charm was running out. Her patience was running thin. And her job was going down the drain. Each day the stress became heavier, and her ability to form a good story wore down. She was under pressure by her boss and co-workers to turn out to be the brilliant reporter she was when she first launched the job.

But deep down, she knew she wasn't that fabulous reporter they all saw her as. She was a filthy cheater.

"Yes, Mr. Sawabashi.." She said in low tones, glancing up at her computer screen.

'Damn that Mr. Fujino and his ignorance...' She thought. She barely noticed as her boss walked away.

That night, she flopped into bed without even changing out of her work clothes. She was too worn to care anymore. Moonlight poured through the dusty window of her compact, cheap apartment. Her eyes glowed under the light, until she turned on her side towards the thick shadows that engulfed half of her room.

What really happened back then, before the big incident? How she wish she was there! She needed a story..she needed something to write about!

She tossed and turned until she finally reached a light slumber.

Dim lights lit up the street. The moon was hidden by the thick clouds now. A suffocating mist had settled on the streets and allies, and the cold bit into the bone. The night life was slow and heavy, pulled down like gravity with the shadows.

A man, looking about in his mid thirties, carried a large bag stuffed with items down a narrow ally. He seemed to stumble, trying to walk with the heavy items in hands. Eventually he let it drop and began to drag it, heading towards a pile of bags of garbage usually collected by the garbage men weekly.

He halted before the bags, staring down at his own. Tears swelled within his eyes. He fought to hold them back, but the hot tears rolled down his cold cheeks. Pictures of a seemingly happy women, and many of her clothes and possessions were stuffed in this bag.

He had lost his wife.

He stared at the bag for the longest time, before falling on his knees. He pressed his lage hands to his face, whimpers escaping his heaving body. He shook his head, tilting his skull towards the sky.

"Why!" He cried, his distressed voice ringing through the ally and bouncing off the hard stone walls. He pressed his hands against the cold, damp cement ground, taking in slow, deep breaths.

His eyes were empty, her expression emotionless.

'All is lost...I can never live again...' He thought in grief.

'We were one...she was my other half..I lost her...I can't go on...'

'Why couldn't I go with her! Why!'

Another sound echoed through the alley. It was the sound of small, hard wheels in friction with the cold, wet ground. A continuous buzzing noise. And then, a heavy screech.

The man paused, clearing his throat silently. A cold chill ran up his spine, his body shaking violently. In fear, he glanced over his shoulder, his eyes widening.

Shadows engulfed a slumped figure towering over his deprived body. He could see reddish tints towards the crown of the shadow, and at the very base two golden shoes, it seemed. He noticed movement...the shadow raised something.

The man's voice was caught in his throat. His body was numb with panic. The shadow shifted, the pale light reaching his face, half covered in shadows. A maniacal grin stretched across the face, a glint of metal blinding the man before he was struck.

Haru shot up in her bed, gripping her covers in fear. The vivid images of that object clashing down upon that man were still fresh in her mind. She held hber hands, and her blanket, close to her heart, gazing directly across the room. Her chest rose and fell rapidly, her throat clearing slowly.

Glancing out her window, she began to calm down, releasing her grasp on the covers. She fell back on her bed, closing her eyes. It was just a dream.