Chapter 1: The Threat

He ran as fast as he could through the night. Men in blue suits were chasing him down. He quickly darted into a dark alley. He spotted a discarded stove by the dumpsters and climbed into that, waiting for the men to pass by. Once the sound of footsteps and shouting ceased, the young man climbed out and dusted himself off. He brushed his light blond hair out of his dark, glaring eyes. He remembered why he was being chased. Ran Kotobuki caught onto his scheme, beat him up, then had him arrested.

"I won't let her get away with this," growled the man. "Nobody messes with Takeru and gets away with it."

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"Ran, you were actually on time today!" cried out Miyu. "Miyu is so impressed!" Miyu, Aya, and Ran were walking through Shibuya after school.

"You look tired, though," noted Aya. "Is something wrong?"

"I was up all night talking to Tatsukichi," yawned Ran. "As soon as I got off the phone with him, it was almost 5 AM."

"What were you two talking about?" asked Aya.

"Just stuff," replied Ran. "Man, I'm starving! Let's get something to eat!"

"Miyu has no money," whined Miyu. Aya looked through her purse and frowned.

"I'm broke, too," pouted Aya. Ran got this pathetic look on her face. "You, too, Ran?"

"Damn it!" shouted Ran. "What's a gal got to do to get some food around here?" Without watching where she was going, she tripped on a raised part of the sidewalk by the park and went flying. At that time, Rei and Yuuya were walking towards the girls. Ran ended up crashing into Yuuya, taking him down onto the ground with her. Yuuya winced at the impact his butt made with the cement.

"Yuuya, what did I tell you?" sighed Rei softly. "Something bad always happens to you when she's around." Yuuya looked at Ran and felt his face get a little flushed. He then quickly got up and helped Ran up as well.

"Are you okay?" asked Yuuya, ignoring his best friend's snide comment.

"Who the hell raised the sidewalk?" roared Ran. Yuuya couldn't help but laugh. Ran then looked up at the blond and got an idea in her head. "Second place! You and Rei wouldn't happen to be going to get some food, were you?"

"We were actually going to go get some studying in," commented Rei. "We have midterms coming up."

"Maybe we can help you study?" asked Aya, blushing a bit.

"We're fine," replied Rei. Yuuya rubbed the back of his neck.

"We can get some food first," announced Yuuya. "My treat." Ran jumped up and shouted in glee. She and the girls started dragging the two boys to the coffee shop. Little did they know that they were being watched by Takeru and one of his buddies. The two men were hiding in the foliage the entire time, waiting for the right moment to attack Ran. They didn't expect a group to be around her, though. Takeru scowled.

"Damn it," cursed Takeru under his breath. "We have to find a way to lure her out." Takeru's black-haired friend, Shinoh, grinned.

"I heard she had a boyfriend with blond hair, though," chuckled Shinoh. "That boy must have been him. We can use him to lure her out." Takeru grinned as well.

"Let's follow them," ordered Takeru. "We'll strike when he's alone."

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Ran, Miyu, and Aya had long since left the coffee shop, and it was dark out. Rei packed up his and Yuuya's things as his best friend went to pay the bill. Yuuya returned, grabbed his things, then left with Rei. They got down the street towards the red statue of the dog, which seemed to be their meeting place a lot with the girls. As soon as they got there, Rei quickly stopped. Yuuya stopped and turned around to face Rei.

"Rei, what's up?" the blond asked.

"I left my bag at the coffee shop," fumed Rei. "I'll be right back." Yuuya nodded as he saw Rei run back towards the shop. As soon as Rei was out of his sight, his cell phone rang. He quickly picked it up and looked at the caller ID.

"Mami, what's up?" answered Yuuya.

"Why didn't you come over today?' asked his girlfriend on the other line. Yuuya cringed a bit, forgetting about meeting up with her.

"Sorry about that," he apologized. "I had a study session with Rei today. We've go--" Yuuya's sentence was interrupted by a gloved hand clamping over his mouth, another arm wrapping around his upper body. A second dark figure grabbed the cell phone from Yuuya's hand and turned it off, dropping it on the ground. Yuuya struggled, letting out muffled cries for help. He was quickly silenced once the second figure pulled a knife out and held it at his throat.

"Another sound out of you and I'll slice your wind pipe wide open, pretty boy," hissed the knife-wielding figure. He was wearing a black ski mask that covered all of his face except his eyes, which were covered by dark sunglasses. The figure looked at the one holding the boy, gesturing towards going into the park. Yuuya felt himself being lifted off the ground as he was being carried into the park. Once they were out of the sight of the street by some trees, the figure holding Yuuya pushed the boy's back against the tree, grabbed his wrists, and pinned them up over his head against the trunk. The knife-wielding figure quickly placed one of his hands over Yuuya's mouth to keep him from screaming and placed the knife against his throat again. The one holding the knife grinned under his mask at the terrified boy. "Don't worry, it's not you we're after. We're after that bitch, Ran Kotobuku. You're the bait to lure her out here. If she doesn't come, however, then it's game over for you. Permanently." Yuuya's eyes widened in horror as his body began to tremble in fear. They were quickly interrupted once they heard shouts from another teenager off in the distance, which became louder with each yell.

"Yuuya!" shouted Rei. "Yuuya, where are you?" The figure holding the knife growled lowly, then looked at Yuuya, pressing the knife against his throat, drawing a little bit of blood.

"You got lucky this time," he growled. "We'll be back for you. Don't speak a word of this to anyone, especially the police and Ran. If you do, we'll kill you and your friends." He then put his knife away and backed up. The figure holding the blond pushed him onto the ground roughly, then ran off with his buddy into the trees. Yuuya pushed himself up onto his knees, staring down at the ground. Rei found Yuuya and ran over to his best friend, kneeling next to him.

"Yuuya!" cried out Rei. "Are you all right? What happened?" Rei looked at his best friend with a look of worry, then one of shock. Yuuya was visibly shaking, his blond bangs hiding his eyes. Rei slowly stood up, then offered Yuuya his hand. "C'mon, I'll take you home." Yuuya shakily took it, then started to stand up, then quickly fell down, wincing and putting a hand on his left ankle. Rei knelt down again and gently removed Yuuya's hand, checking the blond's ankle. "It's a bit swollen. Maybe you should stay at my place tonight. C'mon, let's go." Rei stood up, helping Yuuya get up, then helped his scared, injured friend walk back to Rei's place.