Disclaimer: I do not own The World Ends with You/ It's a Wonderful World or any of the characters/places/or concepts within. They're owned by Square-Enix and Jupiter, respectively, and are not being used for profit. The plot and any characters/places/ or concepts not used in said game belong to me and may not be used without permission.
No one ever questioned the graffiti. It wasn't a conscious decision, not by far, but it was one they all agreed with. And there was very little the shopkeepers of Shibuya ever really agreed on. They were the life line to Shibuya's pulse. The fashions, the trends... it all filtered through them to the public. Even those who ran food or necessity stores. That was just how Shibuya worked. And so they were rivals for the hearts and minds and paychecks of the city.
But they never argued about this.
It was so small after all. Just a stylized skull and crossbones. And every store had the same one. It never faded with the weather or time, and no one tried to scrub it away.
When he first started working in Cadoi City, HT Masuoka had thought a lot about that little tag. The other young man that had trained him simply told him it was a tradition, for good luck, and not to mess with it. HT had laughed and humored his trainer. It wasn't until later that day that he started seeing them everywhere. Every store. Every food stand.
How had he never noticed them before?
So he thought, and questioned, and probed. But he never got more then that first day: Don't mess with what works.
Then THOSE customers started coming in. They didn't seem any different at first glance. Same style-hungry Shibuya-ites.
But there was something about the eyes that bothered him. The hurried way they shopped. Or the way they shopped too slow, as if afraid to go back outside. They way they always came in twos and whispered to each other like couples no matter what the gender or age difference.
When he brought it up to his manager in passing, he was told to let it go, let it slide. That was the way things worked and how Shibuya flowed. Better that he get on board and go with it.
He went with it, but he didn't forget it. There was an intenseness to these people that drew him in. He saw hundreds of customers a day, but he always picked those special ones out of the crowd, followed them with his eyes. It was a nearly painful fascination, like a moth to flame. He wanted to get to know one of them, talk to them, maybe find out what made them seem to glow-
-or seem to disappear when they walked out the door.
It wasn't until six months later, at the car crash that nearly took his life, that he saw a true glimpse. His head pressed against the steering wheel, the horn blaring... and the winged people. The fighting going on in front of his eyes when the EM Ts fought to bring his weak heart back.
And he told himself it was just a dream. A twisted fantasy from a panicking brain...
But if he gave a certain customer an extra big smile. Or a lower then average discount? What of it, everyone had their favorites, and some of them were SO cute. Maybe he hoped one of them would stop for a moment, exchange a few words... or, he had to admit, something else. So what? He wasn't hurting anyone.
And maybe, just maybe, he was making a difference.