Black Rock Shooter belongs to HUKE, who is all kinds of awesome. Especial thanks to IzanagiMikoto for being nice enough to make this readable.

Here we go again. For those reading for the first time, this is actually a rewrite of the first chapter. I wasn't really happy with the original so I added a bit more character related stuff.

Chapter 2 will get a similar treatment, but I won't go overboard like in this one -over twenty pages of text already-, just polishing some details and making Mato's voice more active during the conflict.

Shameless plug: check Battle Fantasia Project over SpaceBattles in the Creative Writing section and here in FFnet under the name Battle Fantasia: Unity in the Crossover - Anime X-overs & Game X-overs section. The BRS team's introduction to the conflict is awesome, truly a shining moment of awesome and badassness for the BRS girls and Signum from Nanoha. You really need to read it, I can't make it justice here unless I just paste the entire chapter

Anyway, FAIR WARNING:

This is not gonna turn into a grimderp story

There won't be paragraphs on end of stupidly detailed and gratuitous violence

No boring shonen fight scenes -you know, yelling for powerup and pulling up supah powahs out of their asses whenever it is most convenient for the hero-

Maybe most important warning, there will be GIRLS LOVE, or Yuri if you will. Nothing explicit, certainly nothing sexual for the normal girls beyond holding each other and sharing a little kiss. The Otherselves in the other hand may get a bit more steamy but still nothing that would turn this into a M-rated story.

On with the show!

Black Rock Shooter: Honest Hearts

Chapter 1

A knight and her Princess

~Inicio~

It is simple.

~Dying Flame~

Blue eyes opened slowly, staring without seeing at the dark ceiling above her.

There was a moment of confusion, of not knowing where she was or in fact who she was. There was only pain, hurting so badly she couldn't move without risking her body fighting against her own orders.

Why… was she alive? Why was she here?

Did it even matter?

She was alone… a new pain accompanied the agony of her body with the knowledge of her loneliness. She didn't know why it was, since she could only remember but a few minutes, but knowing there was nothing, nobody with her... that she was alone… that was worse than anything else. Not even the feeling of her body splitting apart if she moved in the wrong direction could compare to that pain of this solitude.

Maybe she should just close her eyes and let go.

~Naïve Heart~

She was ready to take on the world! A new school, a new year, and new chances of making friends this time! She had been up and ready since dawn had broken and had enjoyed an early breakfast with mom. She'd even gotten to check her special place.

Yeah, she had almost missed the train, but that was just a little accident. From now on she wasn't going to be late for school ever. The train would help her be on time from now on.

It was a new chance to start again and if she kept trying her best then good things would come to her.

She noticed some of the other girls, looking so clean and nice and well, girly, that she couldn't help feeling a bit self conscious about her own looks. She checked her reflection on the doors and tried fixing her tie and taming her hair. Hopefully the ponytails made her look girly enough.

She got down from the train and made the short walk towards the school, waving good mornings to all the girls she could, trying to make a good first impression. She could get to know many of them later on, right?

The school was already in sight and she hurried a little before noticing a parked car in front of the school.

'Wow, that's such a nice car. Looks expensive too,' she noticed. One of the doors opened and a girl came out.

~Dying Flame~

She let out a pained gasp, almost surprising her enough to make her jump out of her resting place.

There was a feeling in her chest. A very strong one!

It was…strange. It was hurting, but not bad like the rest of the pain.

It was…nice but so confusing.

She opened her eyes again but instead of the darkness and chaos she could see…the sky… the street… her school…?

'Such green eyes…'

~Awed Heart~

She stared as the other girl climbed out of the car. There was nothing she could do avert her gaze as the girl leaned over to the window and smiled to the driver in a way that made her feel a little dizzy on the head.

Then the other girl looked in her direction…

'Such green eyes…'

And she gasped, finally noticing she had been holding her breath the entire time. The other girl simply closed her eyes and turned around, not even saying hi or anything… She felt a little pang in her chest, but she ignored it, staring at the retreating back of the other girl for several long moments…

That is until the girls behind her pushed her out of the way to let them walk into the school.

Embarrassed by her actions, she only managed a quick bow before they walked past her, not even looking at her apologizing. 'Nice first impression,' she thought with a wince. She quickly recovered though and looked in direction of that mysterious girl.

~Flame~

She couldn't go back to sleep.

Even when the world went back to colorless dark shades, every time she tried to close her eyes and let herself go back into the dark she would instead see those green eyes. Every time she remembered those green eyes that pain in her chest grew stronger. That feeling in her chest was so different of the pain on her body.

It felt good.

With each passing moment she realized she wanted to see those eyes again… she wanted to caress that delicate and pale face… touch that gentle smile… she wanted to have that smile directed at her.

She wanted to find her again.

~Naïve Heart~

'She's in my class.'

The thought kept repeating on her head. It kept on bouncing over anything the teacher tried to tell them, making her want to just rise from her seat and walk towards the green eyed girl. Her body was full of intention and confusion. As it was, the teacher was still talking and telling them something about the opening ceremony, so she simply tried to sneak a better look of that tall girl, but when that failed, she stared at the sheet in front of her.

It was the seat placement with all the names of the students. She counted the rows and found the name she was looking for…

'Wow, that's a hard name to read! What kind of kanji is that? Kotori... Asobi...? Little birds playing, huh?'

What an odd name for such a pretty girl. She almost let out a sigh when she noticed how the other girl was sitting perfectly straight and paying attention as if it was expected with this air around her that said refined, high-class.

The other girl's presence seemed to scream: "I'm a princess and you can't touch me, or you'll get tossed in the dungeon."

She smiled as she couldn't help imagining the other girl dressed in pretty and expensive clothes, like those of royalty! Wouldn't it be fun if she was really a princess - the daughter of a daimyo of old dressed in one of those flowing kimonos? Or at least the daughter of a rich family, heir of the clan! Uh-oh, the teacher was looking in her direction.

Sleeping Flame~

She tried to stay awake but it was becoming increasingly hard. The pain before had kept her from relaxing, and then those green eyes made her feel extremely restless; by now she was just drained. The physical pain was nothing but a dull ache, just an insignificant reminder that she couldn't move for some reason.

The odd pain in her chest was still there, but it was slightly different now. For some reason the need to find that girl wasn't as consuming as before, as if she had already found her, as impossible as that was.

The urge to close her eyes became even stronger and she clenched her fists, knowing that she wouldn't be able to remain awake. To just stop existing had been so appealing some time ago, but now it caused an unusual emotion course through her body, an emotion she didn't want to feel.

No matter how hard she tried, she knew it was impossible to remain. No matter how much she wanted, it was just impossible.

For some reason she felt her eyes brimming with tears and a new pain grew in her chest.

Her eyes finally closed as she felt something trickling down her cheeks.

'No, I can find a way. I can't just give up without trying!'

For a brief moment she blinked her eyes open before the exhaustion forced them closed again. As the darkness engulfed her a single thought went through her mind.

'Can't give up.'

Naïve Heart~

They were making their way back to the classroom after the opening ceremony when she finally spotted the elegant girl. She thought the other girl would have had a flock of girls wanting to be friends with her by now, but for some reason the green eyed girl was walking alone. Nobody was even trying to approach her either. Good! It was her chance to make her move then!

… Now how was she going to do that?

Okay, so she had no idea how to approach another girl, but it couldn't be that hard, right? Yeah, she was nervous as heck, but she only had to go there and say hi, right? Right!

But, the car other girl came to school in looked expensive, and she was so refined... Was there anything she could even talk with the other girl about? Maybe classy girl would just tell her to go away and never bother her again...

'… No, I can find a way. I can't just give up without trying!' She nodded decisively, squaring her shoulders.

'Can't give up.'

She smiled and hurried to walk next to the tall girl. She cleared her throat and pushed on.

"Hey! Uh..."

The other girl pulled back in surprise. "Y-yes?"

Now that she had her attention she only needed something to talk about... oh crud. "Eh, ah well, you see... Oh yeah! Your height!"

"My height?"

"Yes, you're tall! Must be nice," she said, raising a hand over her head, showing the difference of their heights.

The other girl only stared for a moment before saying a simple: "Right," and then walked away. She felt her stomach painfully twisting but she couldn't give up now. Plastering a smile on her face she caught up again with the taller girl.

"O-oh yeah, I saw you came in a car this morning. I was like, whoa, people really do that!"she said excitedly.

The other girl didn't even look in her direction. "I didn't want to, but my father insisted. So it was only for today."

"Do you live close by?"

"No, Machinami-cho."

She felt her heart about to burst out of her chest at that piece of info. "That's my neighborhood!" she told her and that got a reaction. The other girl turned in surprise, as if looking at her for the first time.

"Really?"

"Yeah, I take the train from Kibata Station," she replied. The other girl immediately smiled a little and the sight made the shorter girl positively beam in sheer joy. She could even feel her cheeks warming up and her heart beat as fast as if she had been running all the way from home.

"Well, we're neighbors," the tall girl said as if she couldn't believe it. "From tomorrow I'll be taking the train from that station too, then."

"That's so cool!" That meant she would get to see other girl every morning then! "Hey, where did you go to elementary school?" she asked.

"Not around here. I just moved here recently," the other girl said in a subdued voice.

"Oh, that's why!"

"Why what?"

"Well, Kotori-Asobi is a pretty uncommon name! I would remember it if I had heard it before!"

The other girl giggled quietly behind her hand and the smaller girl looked at her in confusion.

"Takanashi," no hawks?

"What?"

"It's pronounced 'Takanashi'. 'Kotori-Asobi' is how you write it."

"Huh? Why is it pronounced Takanashi?"

"Well, where 'little birds play' there are 'no hawks'."

"Oh, I see! That's a cool name... but a little difficult to read," she said with a little pout.

The other girl smiled cutely again.

"I think so too."

"Takanashi... Takanashi...," She started to say the name, almost as if tasting how it sounded, trying to memorize every syllable into her mind.

"Takanashi Yomi."

She blinked and turned back to Takanashi-san. "Uh?"

"My full name."

She was so surprised that she didn't know what to say for a moment. 'Her name is Yomi...'

"Ah, Kuroi. Kuroi Mato! But you can call me Mato!" she replied, hoping with every fiber in her body that Yomi-san would call her by her name.

"Mato..." Yomi said slowly as if trying the name before a beautiful smile grew on her face. "That's a nice name."

'She-she thinks my name is nice?' she could feel butterflies dancing in her stomach and she smiled widely before turning around, trying to hide her blush."T-thanks!"

"Ah, Mato-chan!"

"Yes?" she asked, a big smile still plastered on her face.

"It's here. This is our classroom..."

Mato looked up. "Oh, right, yeah!" she chuckled in embarrassment but hearing Yomi's amused giggles was enough to remove any shyness she could feel.

~Sleeping Flame~

She slept in the dark, dreaming of another place, one full of color, one where she could see those curious green eyes.

Some part of her was aware that she was alone and that knowledge caused pain to shot through her chest.

But she still dreamed with those green eyes, porcelain-like skin, hair so black that it almost shined with a tint of green, and that smile that caused her chest to swell.

'Mato, I have decided,' Yomi said with gentle smile.-

That was enough.

She knew she wasn't really alone anymore.

Naïve Heart~

Life had just been wonderful since she met Yomi...

Every morning she did her best to wake up as early as possible, and even if she wasn't on time Yomi never got mad at her. Yomi pretended to not notice, but Mato could always tell when Yomi lied about not having been waiting for her. They talked about little things during the train ride, and while it embarrassed her a little it also felt very nice when Yomi got to fix Mato's uniform. Yomi always told Mato to try and do her homework on time, but she never refused when Mato asked her to copy her homework; sure, it took some coaxing and some hugs and kisses, but Yomi never said no. They shared their lunch, and Mato always got Yomi to feed her a little of hers; Yomi always said the bento Mato's mom made was delicious, but Mato thought Yomi's bento was just the best.

Mato had tried to get Yomi to sign up for the basketball club with her, but Yomi had been unsure and didn't get in the club. Mato had been pretty down that week. She would be busy with the club while Yomi was elsewhere; Yomi had been nice enough to wait for Mato through the entire team practice, but Mato felt bad having Yomi wait alone for her.

One morning, while Mato was copying Yomi's homework, her friend whispered only loud enough for Mato to hear.

"Mato, I've decided," Yomi said with a gentle smile. "It's not basketball but something similar."

She hadn't understood at first, but that afternoon, she saw the volleyball's team, the neighbors the basketball's team shared the gym with, starting tryouts, and there was Yomi dressed in shorts and a short sleeved shirt. Mato had never seen Yomi practicing sports before so she couldn't help watching with a look of wonder and a smile of happiness as Yomi ran, jumped and hit the ball... until the captain knocked her upside the head and told her to stop gawking at the other girls.

They were inseparable, and she never wanted that to change.

"Hey, have you got a few minutes to spare?" Mato asked Yomi out of the blue one afternoon. She touched the little bag in her pocket and decided it was the right moment to share something with Yomi.

"I guess so."

"There's somewhere I want to take you," Mato told her and Yomi smiled her eyes shining with curiosity. "Okay?"

"Sure."

"Over this way! Come on!" and she started to run up the street.

"Mato, wait for me!"Yomi immediately gave chase, both girls giggling silly as Mato rushed at times, waited for Yomi, and then sprinted some more, like an overexcited puppy wanting to play with a kitty.

Mato hadn't taken Yomi around this part of the neighborhood before, so it was a joy seeing the wonder on Yomi's face as they passed by the little part with sakura trees. Yomi tried to ask her something, but Mato promised to explain once they were there. She rushed up the final stairs, three steps at the time and then turned around to see a slightly out of breath Yomi reaching the top.

"This is it, look!" Mato said, spinning with both arms spread wide apart. Yomi let out a gasp of surprise as she looked over the city, the sun at just the right angle painted the whole city golden and the mountains on the horizon framed the whole thing, making it look as if it were a little place away from the rest of the world. The little park of cherry trees surrounded the top of the hill on all sides a few dozens of meters below the guardrails, making it look as if they were even higher above the city. It wasn't the right time of the year so the sakura hadn't bloomed just yet. She was so going to bring Yomi later on, so they could have a picnic under the trees.

Mato took Yomi's hand as she approached the edge, giving it a little squeeze. "This is my favorite place."

Both girls leaned against the rail, letting the sun warm them up, and they just let a nice bit of comfortable silence hang over them. However, being still wasn't really Mato's strength.

She started to speak in a tentative voice that quickly gained strength. "When you look at the town from here, somehow it just makes you feel better!" She sighed, putting a hand over her chest. "And it's not just the view, I don't know how to explain it, but... You know?" she shrugged, a little embarrassed at her lack of words.

Yomi closed her eyes and sighed. "I understand," she said quietly, leaning a little against Mato... but she quickly pulled away. Mato looked up at Yomi, a question in her eyes. Yomi kept looking at the horizon. "You like this town, don't you Mato?" she whispered.

Confused Mato only managed to answer the first thing that came to her mind. This was really the only city she knew. Sure she had visited her grandparents out in the country, but she knew this city like the back of her hand. "Yes, I love it. I was born and raised here!" she told her proudly.

The silence stretched for longer than Mato was comfortable with, and she was starting to get worried about Yomi. "I've been moving around since I was born," Yomi finally said in a voice so quiet Mato almost didn't hear it.

The tomboy was many things, and as much as it ashamed her to admit it, being smart wasn't one of her better qualities. But the pain in Yomi's voice was so obvious, so heartbreaking... 'I will be forever right at your side,'... that Mato understood immediately.

"Well, you should stay here from now on," Mato said in a tone that almost matched Yomi's. "I hate the idea of you leaving..." she admitted, feeling an almost forgotten pain again in her chest.

Yomi looked at her out the corner of her eye, and Mato felt her heart clenching painfully at that look. When those green eyes looked away from her, Mato almost felt like reaching out and hugging her friend. "Yes, I want to stay..." Yomi said as if she were trying to convince herself...

Mato quickly dug into her pocket, retrieving a little green chain. "Ah! Here Yomi, this is for you!" she said, trying to sound as cheerful as possible. Trying to make Yomi forget about those bad memories...

"Uh?" Yomi blinked cutely, bringing a real smile to Mato's face.

She let the chain hang from her fingers, leaving the green star visible at the bottom. "Isn't it cute? I bought it for you." She did her best to ignore the butterflies in her stomach. 'She's not going to hate it. She's not going to hate it. She's not going to hate it...'

Yomi slowly reached a hand forward, looking as if she couldn't believe what she was seeing. "C-can I have it?" she whispered, her eyes looking hopefully at Mato.

Mato felt her cheeks burning up and she started to babble. "Of course, I mean, look, ah your phone! Doesn't have any straps. I think it's lonely. See, I've got this one. I really like it!" she told her, raising her own cell phone to show a blue star hanging from a little chain.

Yomi took the little strap and held it between her hands, clutching it against her chest.

"Thanks!" Yomi said, her voice softening in a melancholic yet happy tone. "… I'll take good care of it..." she promised, closing her eyes and suddenly looking so unbearably sad and fragile to Mato's eyes.

'Let me shelter you from that pain'

She enveloped Yomi in a hug, getting a startled eep from the tall girl, and giving a little kiss to her cheek.

'I'll be always at your side, Yomi. You won't be alone again,' she promised, not trusting her voice and hoping Yomi would understand what she was trying to say.

Sleeping Flame~

She slept in blissful peace, in a place that was no longer dark, no longer the nothingness she had struggled against. It was a world of colors where she walked next to her green eyed princess.

'Don't worry, I just arrived too, Mato.'

Mother and Hiro loved her very much too. They had welcomed Yomi in the house with open arms, just as Yomi's parents had accepted her.

'Mato, you should try to finish your homework.'

Her smile was just as gentle as she first remembered it. Every day, every time Yomi smiled at her made her want to keep on living.

'Hahaha, please no more Mato, that tickles!'

Every day she tried to make Yomi smile. The sight of her lips curling up in happiness made her chest throb in a good and strange pain.

'I'm with Mato, mother.'

She was no longer alone thanks to Yomi.

'I would love to see a movie, Mato.'

Yomi's happiness made her happy.

'Yes, yes, I love you too Mato.'

As long as Yomi was with her, she would never be alone again.

'Hey, Mato.'

She would do anything to keep Yomi at her side.

Yomi slowly reached a hand forward, looking as if she couldn't believe what she was seeing. 'C-can I have it?" she whispered, her eyes looking hopefully at Mato.

She always intended for it belonged to Yomi.

'Thanks!' Yomi said, her voice softening in a melancholic yet happy tone. '…I'll take good care of it...' she promised, closing her eyes and suddenly she looked so unbearably sad and fragile to Mato's eyes.

She opened her eyes at the sudden pain that flashed through her. In that bleak and dark place little mattered. The only thing that existed in her mind was Yomi's suffering. She clutched her chest, digging her fingers painfully into her breast.

"Let me shelter you from that pain," she whispered fiercely, glaring into the Nothing.

She had been so confused before, but now she understood what she was meant to do. She didn't want to be alone again. She wouldn't let solitude hurt Yomi either.

'I'll be always at your side, Yomi. You won't be alone again.'

No matter what happened from then on, it was her duty to ensure that. She would protect Yomi. "I will be your Knight and you my Princess."

Yes that sounded right.

She closed her eyes again and breathed deeply. She was so tired...

Honey colored eyes looked up at her and she couldn't help smiling, feeling as if she could almost fly. 'Of course, Yuu, we are friends.'

"Yuu...?"

Naïve Heart~

She stared blankly at the forms on the desk and sighed; they were so dang boring! Well, not really boring since they were needed for her entry to the national tournament -they had encouraged her to sign up even though she was still a first year-; they were going to send it away along with the rest of the team's forms that next weekend so they needed to be properly filled and filed as soon as possible.

She heard something bumping against the office's door and she immediately jump to her feet, all but vaulting towards the door to pull it open.

"Thanks, Mato-san, the door keeps jamming."

"No problem, Hyuuga-san," Mato said, reaching down to pick the bag with the basketballs but Hyuuga-san didn't budge. "Ah?"

The much smaller girl gave her a glare that Mato thought was immensely adorable. "It's Yuu!"

"Sorry, sorry Yuu-san," Mato replied in embarrassment, rubbing the back of her head. Despite looking like an elementary school student -and she really loved acting the part most of the time-, Hyuuga Yuu was the most hardworking girl Mato had ever seen. Even more than Yomi! She used to think Yuu-san was her senior, but they were both in the same year and same age. Yuu-san would make all the paperwork for the team, even the part of the teachers. She always helped clean up the gym and pick up the equipment, and she was always the first one to arrive and the last to leave.

She could make Mato feel like a slacker at times.

Soon Mato and Yuu-san were all over the office, putting the balls in their place, putting away folders, sending some papers to print. After a while Yuu-san sat down giving some extra directions to Mato, so she could finish without problems.

Mato slumped in the chair next to Yuu-san and stretched out her legs with an overly dramatic sigh. "Well, that's that! Now we can go home!" she said, flashing a smile to the smaller girl.

Yuu-san jumped a little before she returned a smile back that didn't quite reach her eyes. "Y-yeah, you're done Miss Ace, but I still have some things to do."

"Eh? Can't you leave that for later? Or just let somebody else of the team do that tomorrow," Mato whined playfully, but Yuu-san simply shrugged a little.

"The rest of the team is always pretty busy, but they always help cleaning up our side of the gym," she told her easily but Mato wasn't that dense.

With a wince she realized she had never seen anybody of the team other than her helping Yuu-san, but she didn't think nobody else ever helped with the most "boring" parts of the club. She scratched the back of her head, looking for something to say when Yuu-san gave her another of these smiles that pained Mato to watch.

"Don't you have something to do? You always leave with that girl from the volleyball club. You wouldn't want to leave her waiting. She's a good friend of yours, isn't she?"

"Yeah, Yomi's my best friend," Mato immediately replied but she froze right away. She looked carefully at Yuu-san, who was trying her hardest to pretend she was actually reading a paper. "I can call Yomi and tell her I'm going to be a bit late helping with the club," she said slowly, wanting to test the waters.

There was a bit of silence before Yuu-san turned slowly around, looking at Mato as if she couldn't understand what she was seeing. "Huh?"

Mato stood up and walked behind Yuu's chair, looking down at the smaller girl. "We'll finish faster if we work together, right?" she flashed a toothy grin.

Yuu blinked a couple times before she quickly stood up, ushering a confused Mato out of the office. "None of that! That girl is probably already waiting for you, it wouldn't be fair for her," she said with an honest smile that made Mato smile even wider.

"Next time I can help you, okay?"

"Okay okay," Yuu said with a little chuckle.

Mato was about to step outside when she felt Yuu pulling her from the back of her shirt. "What's wrong?"

"We are f-friends, right?"

Honey colored eyes looked up at her and she couldn't help smiling, feeling as if she could almost fly. "Of course we're friends, Yuu."

"Thanks, Mato."

Awakening Flame-

Her rest was interrupted by a very odd feeling in her chest. She almost remembered feeling it before, but it seemed so far away now. It was a feeling she didn't like at all.

It made her want to reach out for her Princess and held her close, she knew Yomi was hurting but she wasn't su-

"...there's nothing we can do about it..."

"Yes, there is nothing we can do about it."

She opened her eyes in a flash and gasped for breath. She could feel a hollow in her breast and that horrible feeling made her eyes narrow dangerously. She tried to stand up but she quickly fell to her knees, remaining still for a long moment of sheer confusion.

She was incredibly weak, it was an exhaustion that held her down but she couldn't understand why. She had been in front of the school, checking the bulletin with... with... what had she been doing?

She rolled over on her back, staring at the ruined ceiling and ran a hand over her face, letting out a soundless yawn. Her memories were sluggish. She couldn't remember much but knew it was there. She could remember going to some important place, with somebody very important to her. It was an important day, but at the same time, it was also a painful memory.

She remained on the ground for a long time, a very long time. She wasn't sure how long she had been there but she finally stood up. She idly wondered where her clothes were but she really didn't care. Taking a deep breath she stood up and walked back to her bed; she took a moment to look outside the broken window next to her bed and stared at a dark sky. She could hear things moving outside but she didn't care enough to see what it was.

She sat back down on her bed and sighed.

"Where are you?" the image of green eyes kept flashing through her mind, filling her with a good feeling.

~A New Heart~

Mato made her way towards her new seat in silence, still too down to chat with her new classmates. Somebody had decided to rearrange the groups meaning that Yomi and she had been put in different classes. They could still meet during breaks and during their clubs' practices, but it wasn't the same. No matter how much it angered her or how much it depressed Yomi, there was nothing they could do about it other than just accept it wouldn't be the same than last year.

"Mato!"

She looked up to see Yuu all but running to her side wearing an impish grin on her face. "Yuu? What's up? What you doing here?"

"We're going to be classmates this year!"

"Ah, really?" Mato jumped off her seat, enveloping the smaller girl in a hug that lifted her off the ground. "That's so cool! I thought this year was going to suck."

"Uh? Takanashi-san isn't here?" Yuu said, looking around for the regal girl.

"She's next door," Mato replied, letting Yuu go.

"Aww, I wanted to properly meet her."

"I can introduce you during break, Super Team Manager!"

"I'd like that, Miss Ace!"

Maybe something good had come out of this after all. Now she just had to do her best to stay close to Yomi this year, starting as soon as the classes stopped!

~Awakened Flame~

Mato spared an indifferent glance at the blue flames dancing around her hand before she closed her eyes. She didn't need to look to know that once the flames pulled back into her flesh they would be replaced by black leather in the shape of a glove. She wasn't sure why these blue flames did what they did, but she didn't care to find out why. She had been busy with another revelation that she was abusing at the moment.

It was all but a little matter of willing it, and she could see her green eyed Princess whenever she wished to. Well, most of the time. Lately it had been harder and harder to find a moment when she could see her, instead seeing more of that colorful world or from little Yuu. Yuu's presence was just as enjoyable as Yomi's but different, so she was still happy knowing she had a new friend at her side.

Yet, one day she could see her Princess in a mood that made Mato want to reach out for her again. For some reason Yomi said nothing was wrong, but Mato could tell that Yomi was masking her feelings, her hurt, though she didn't know why.

That wasn't the only wrong thing about Yomi lately. Mato had managed to catch glimpses out of the corner of her eyes of that darkness that seemed to follow Yomi around. It was subtle most of the time, but then there were times when it seemed as if Yomi was covered in a second skin of darkness. Yomi still didn't tell. Even when the pain was drowning her she still didn't admit anything.

Mato felt a little hurt that Yomi didn't trust her enough to confide on what was happening to her; however, it would hurt more if she was the cause of Yomi's pain.

So she remained silent, even when Yomi looked away in pain, even when it seemed Yomi was trying to stay away from her.

Even when she felt something in her chest being torn apart, she just waited to see if Yomi would confide in her.

Hesitant Heart~

"What's wrong Mato?" Yuu asked from her place on top of Mato's seat.

The tomboy looked back at Yuu and flashed a tiny smile, "N-nothing," she replied, looking at the classroom's door. "It's nothing."

But she wasn't sure if it was nothing or not.

Lately she had been feeling this... this weight around her, something that made her want to warm up her body as soon as possible, but she couldn't tell what exactly it was. She realized it happened most often when she was near Yomi and, as crazy as it sounded, she could sometimes see something following Yomi around.

More like somebody, actually.

A girl... a girl with horns and wings that seemed to follow Yomi around.

She had kept quiet since, well, it was too crazy, and she was the only one who had noticed anything going on. Not even Yomi seemed to notice when that dark girl was around.

But, if that other girl had been standing at the classroom's door that meant Yomi should have been there too, right? But if she was, then why hadn't she said hello?

It was too confusing... and it probably was nothing.

Lonely Flame~

...Call me as soon as you finish school... Takanashi... Police... Missing...

Her eyes snapped open and she scrawled to her feet.

"The detectives in charge of Yomi's disappearance are waiting for you," mom said, but Mato was still in denial, refusing to believe any of this was real.

"No..."

"Yomi left for school in the morning, and didn't come back..." Mato just sat there, listening as they continued. "... seems she left school in the early evening..." she had been waiting instead of looking for Yomi. "... we don't know if she may have gotten involved in some incident..." She should have gone looking out for her when Yomi didn't answer the phone. "Or if leaving home was in fact her intention..."

"No way..."

"Yomi wouldn't run away from home," she replied quietly, looking at the table in front of her, clutching her skirt tightly to keep herself from shouting at them that they didn't know her, that Yomi had no reason to do that.

"Yomi is happy here! She would never leave!"

But she was scared.

She would never leave me!

"But just in case. We know that you're Yomi's closest friend, can you think of anything that could give us any clue?" The police kept asking questions, but she wasn't paying attention, and it wasn't until mom nudged that she responded.

"She said... she liked it here with me..."

She was just going on auto pilot now, telling them how they hadn't talked to each other in the train, about the volleyball's captain telling her Yomi had already left without her, about the mails Yomi didn't answer...

"No... I need you..."

They kept asking her questions but she could only shake her head no over and over as she brushed tears away. Tears that just wouldn't stop.

'I'm sorry Yomi, I'm sorry... I couldn't protect you, Yomi...'

She curled on the ground, her forehead pressing against the cold floor, and she heaved but there was nothing in her stomach to throw up. She felt as if somebody had reached into her chest and tore her heart out. The emotion was terrible, she wanted it to end!

"Yomi..."

She wanted her.

"Yomi..."

She needed her.

"I'm sorry Yomi..."

She didn't want to be alone.

"I'm sorry Yomi..."

She sat up against her bed, her face resting against the mattress as tears ran down her face and into her mouth, and she sobbed until she couldn't cry anymore.

Lost Heart~

"Mato?"

She didn't reply.

"Hey, Mato...?"

She didn't even turn around to look at Hiro.

"Mato... mom says dinner is ready... do you want to eat, sis?"

She just shook her head.

"Sis... the police are going to find Yomi... I-I know they will bring Yomi-neechan back, and then everything will be okay, right?"

Mato didn't say anything.

"... g'night, sis."

The door closed with a click and Mato curled in a tight ball, silent tears running down her face.

"I'm so useless...," she whispered, clenching her hands into fists and grinding her teeth... and then her whole body fell limp. "I'm sorry... Yomi, where are you?" she whispered, feeling the weight of how hopeless everything was. Her fruitless efforts to try and help find Yomi seemed like a waste of time.

She and Yuu had stayed in the school looking for clues until Yuu parents came looking for the two of them. She had gone looking around the neighborhood but she found nothing, and Mom had made her promise to immediately come back home after school and no longer leave the house after coming back or Hiro alone again in the house. She had tried asking everybody in the neighborhood about anything they could know, but she had come up empty again.

As if things couldn't get worse, it hadn't been even two days since Yomi had gone missing and the girls at school were spreading all kind of stupid rumors... "Shut up," she growled in a whisper... they had no right to say those things about Yomi, but... there was nothing... "No!" … nothing she could do about it other than clench her fists and pretend she hadn't heard them.

If Yuu hadn't been there for her, Mato didn't know what she would have done. She had wanted to just break down and cry, but Yuu told her to keep her spirits up because Yomi would come back soon and all this worry would be for nothing, otherwise everybody else would get depressed too. She had to be strong for everybody else's sake.

She could at least do that much for Yuu...

She wasn't good for anything else...

No matter how hard she tried, no matter how much she wished, how much she hoped...

"No, I c-can't give up! If I try hard enough, nothing is impossible! Nothing!"

"I'm worthless..."

~Flame~

Mato closed her eyes, trying to keep these horrible emotions away, but they kept coming stronger and stronger.

She stood outside in the ruined city, hoping the cold wind would help her cool down her head, but the feelings kept coming, giving her a worst headache. The pain caused by Yomi's absence was already bad enough; she didn't have room for... "I'm worthless"... these feelings clouding her mind when Yomi was out there, needing her.

Just as much as Mato needed her.

She walked over roads with checkered patterns, broken and burned bridges and under chains rising to the sky. She took a deep breath before shrugging on her coat. She was finally able to get her body to move as she wished to. There was no longer anything holding her down, nothing keeping her from going.

She stumbled, falling to her knees at the sudden feeling in her abdomen. She blinked many times, seeing an image superposed over the world for a few moments before the sensation in her center intensified noticeably. She looked around for a moment, swallowing thickly. It was a familiar feeling, but so alien at the same time.

She could feel it - something that weighed down on her with a drowning grief and utter loneliness, something that made warmth flare within her chest in response to that pain.

She slowly stepped down the street and looked around with nervous eyes.

"Yomi."

~Awakening Heart~

She wearily opened her eyes, noticing the sun was barely raising and that she had slept on her clothes. Again. She ran a hand over her chest, idly wondering why she felt so warm all of sudden, but after a moment she ignored the sensation. She sighed deeply and tried to turn off her cell phone's alarm before realizing it wasn't the alarm but an incoming call. Her heart jumped up to her throat and she quickly sat up.

"Yomi?" she gasped, unfolding the phone and seeing a blank message from her Yomi. She stared at the screen in confusion for a moment before she dialed up her phone but nobody picked up.

"What... what's going on?" she was at a loss of what to do before she felt an almost painful tug in her chest, jerking her away from her confusion. She looked out of the window, the sun barely illuminated the sky, feeling that warmth in her chest growing stronger and a single thought crossed her mind.

'Yomi.'

'I can find you.'

~Flame~

She floated in place for a moment, turning here and that way trying to find that sensation again. It had been almost overshadowed by another feeling in her chest, almost as if she had been jerked away from her place, almost as if the entire world had been shoved sideways, but she was sure she could find her. The jerking sensation made the warmth in her flare, burning like a flame within, making her feel...

She only needed to focus harder...

"Yomi's place!"

She turned sharply around, looking up towards their Hill, beyond the glowing trees of Sakura.

~Heart~

Mom was right behind her, asking her something but Mato couldn't stop, not now!

"Where are you going?"

"Yomi!" she shouted, feeling something in her stomach twisting. The sensation was quickly building up, turning from a little warmth into an almost burning sensation, telling her she could still feel Yomi nearby.

"Mato?"

"Yomi's place!" Yes, she was there!

She ran out of the house and grabbed her bike, racing down the empty streets.

~Flame~

Her body groaned in pain but she didn't stop. There were creatures following her close by but she didn't stop.

The flame kept on fueling her steps, forcing her closer to her destination.

She was so close, she could find her again!

She flew past the pink forest until the top of the hill was on sight. She touched ground and ran up the stairs to see the lookout point-.

~Heart~

- and she fell to her knees.

Her lungs were burning, her feet felt like lead, and she was gasping for precious breath. Her vision blurred a little and she used her arm to wipe sweat of her face, for a moment closing her eyes, unable to accept what she was seeing.

She was alone.

~Flame~

She was sure... she couldn't understand...

In a daze she walked towards the railing, not noticing where she was going; only knowing the flame started to burn stronger and brighter... She was supposed to be there.

~Heart~

She noticed something on the grass and she almost tripped on her feet trying to get to it. Her hands started to tremble at the sight of the innocent little green chain and matching star... It was the same she had given Yomi so many months ago... the one Yomi had promised to take good care of it...

'No... no! This-this means Yomi is nearby! She called me! She left this behind so I knew!'

But... how was she going to find her? There was a glimmer of hope but... what could she do?

She held the charm between her hands in prayer and closed her eyes. "Yomi..." she whispered. "Where are you?" she asked, begging for guidance to anybody who could hear her. Begging for the strength to keep on going and find her dearest person.

Fire and Light came to life between her hands.

~Flame~

She spun around, feeling again as if the world was being ripped apart, the burning flame roaring within her, and she saw a star.

~Heart~

She opened her eyes, letting out a tiny gasp of surprise. She blinked a couple times, not really understanding what was happening as the light 'grew' like a globe in her hands until it was too big to hold and she had to open her hands. The sphere of light burst free and ribbons of color flowed like fire from her hands, flames bluer than the sky and light whiter than the stars, quickly enveloping her in a ball of blue fire that miraculously didn't burn her.

The world started to become bright and she looked up, seeing a lonely star in the sky. The clouds and the sky itself seemed to be ripped apart as the star became brighter with each tinkle.

The light was so intense, so warm that Mato had to close her eyes, holding the little green star tighter against her chest.

Then the world was torn apart.

~Flame~

Mato blinked the stars away from the sudden white glare. That had been unpleasant.

Once she regained her sight she looked around and stopped for a moment.

The world was gone.

There were no pink glowing sakura trees, no dark and ruined city, no decayed and dead sky, no sick moon, no checkered patterns, and no black chains. Only the bluest sky with a white mist shrouding everything around her and little white stars peeking through the clouds.

"What..." Somebody else was here! "... What is this place?"

She flew up, trying to find that person but she only saw a little glow, even brighter than the rest of the stars, and she rushed in that direction. The soft sound of steps reached her ears before she could see the person who... it was a young girl...

Black hair pulled back in a messy ponytail and eyes of a deep blue, clad with a simple denim skirt, white shirt with a blue star on the front and a hooded jacket of dark colors, holding that glow close to her chest...

Mato looked at the other girl... and she knew.

She knew her, those eyes... those eyes that she had seen in every reflection since she had been born. Not her eyes, but Mato's eyes...

That girl was Mato... Mato looked... she looked down to her gloved hands as a terrible thought crossed her mind. 'Who am I then?'

However, before she could dwell in that question she realized something else. She could feel anger rising inside her chest. She hadn't been the one who failed to keep Yomi safe...

But, she could tell, the flame in her chest flared stronger with each step Mato took in her direction and she could feel it, the same regret and pain that had tortured her for the last couple days was hurting Mato too. Mato, the real Mato wanted their Princess back too...

She floated closer to Mato and took a deep breath.

"Do you want to save her?" she asked.

Mato startled, and the not Mato waited until the real Mato looked up and their eyes met.

~Heart~

Mato felt a little dizzy as she looked up. The warmth in her chest was almost painfully hot now, beating harder and harder as she stared at the floating girl in front of her. Black top, black shorts, black boots, black hooded jacket, black gloves, she was dressed in so much black and that only made her incredibly pale skin look almost white in contrast. Huh, she never thought she would care about those things when there was a girl floating in mid air!

Of course, having light and fire burst out of her chest and hands had been all kind of crazy, so why not?

"What?" she managed to said, in an almost too quiet whisper.

~Burning Blue Flame~

"She's someone you care about."

It was hard to admit, but she realized it now. She had never been the one to hold Yomi's hand... she had never embraced Yomi in her times of need... she had never been close to Yomi at all.

"You're someone she cares about..."

She could feel her flame burning hotter as Mato realized who she was talking about. "You mean Yomi? Yomi, where is she?"

She didn't know.

"Save her? … No!"

What...?

Mato's anger and sadness started to burn with a blue flame, flaring around her body like a bonfire, growing with each word she spoke with sadness and determination.

"I just want to walk with Yomi again!"

"I want to laugh with her again!

"I want to see Yomi again. Right. Now!" her desperation and determination burned bright like the sun... and it made something within the not real girl's chest burn brighter still.

Just like Mato's eyes...

"I see..." and she did.

Their purpose, their desire was the same.

She floated closer to the girl and the blue flames danced around their bodies as they came closer, embracing them in a warmth that was no longer burning but comfortable. Safe. She felt something in her chest, the pain was still there but now something new burned along with it, trying to reach out for Mato.

A fierce and innocent Hope.

"Who... who are you?" Mato whispered breathlessly, fighting to keep her eyes open.

'Who am I?'

"I am..."

She... she didn't know. Did she even have a name? She... she always thought she was Mato...

"I am..."

The warmth in her chest was burning incredibly hot now, so hot it was consuming her fears, confusion and sorrow away. Mato's own warmth was rivaling the black clad girl's own, both beating as a single heart. She closed her eyes, feeling something within her bursting free.

"I am... Black Rock Shooter."

And they became one.

~Little Heart~

"Keep going in that direction, Rock," Mato indicated, or at least tried to. Black Rock Shooter didn't have problems following the instructions, though, and she simply nodded minutely. "You don't mind if I just call you Rock?"

The girl started to walk but stopped for a moment, looking ahead. "I like Rock," she said and Mato felt herself smiling.

Their destiny was ahead of them.

~Final~

Wait for me, Yomi. I'll be at your side soon!

-CONTINUARA-

AN:

Originally the first chapter was a little thing, just mentioning most of Real World's canon events in passing before jumping to the end. While that was perfect for people who knew already know the OVA went, for the rest of the people it was harder to follow and it didn't really set the grounds for why Mato was willing to go into another world for Yomi.

I will also be messing around with the other BRS canons, so you may find some special surprises along the road.

I will be updating my profile from time to time with proper dates and all so if you want to stop by and look for updates, well there they are. You are free to send me PM's and the anons, well I think anonymous reviews are okay as long as you people don't get too spamy.

Anyway, thanks for all the support you people have given me so far, I hope I keep up doing right and if I miss, then tell me. Input is always useful and appreciated.