Disclaimer: I don't own The World Ends With You.

(Anyway, this story's kind of an experiment, so let's see how it goes. I initially intended to make it a oneshot story about Shiki, but it evolved into something else. Now I'm wondering if it should last for the whole week-long Game. So, leave some feedback, please!)

Prologue: Haruka

So I wake up and I'm in the middle of the street.

...No big deal.

And then I look to my left and see a just-as-confused kid and suddenly I remember where I am.

Yeah. The Reaper's Game.

People walk past us—no one I know personally—without so much as a glance in our direction. That's how I can tell for sure.

Well, that and the shiny black pin in my pocket.

"C'mon, Jun," I say to my partner. Getting up to my feet, I extend a hand. "Let's get going."

He stands on his own. "Sorry… but could you stop calling me that?" He awkwardly glances down at me, like I'm a stranger. …Like he's never heard me say his name before.

"Nope." I turn away. I can't let him see my face right now.

He frowns a little, but I start walking ahead. "Let's go," I repeat. I can't let him see that I have no idea what I'm doing.

Junichi Niwa. He's been my best friend for eight years, and I've been calling him "Jun" for just as long. Of course, none of this he seems to recall.

Me? My name's Haruka. I'm a girl.

… that's all I can remember.

No, really. I think it has something to do with this messed-up Game, 'cause I could've sworn I at least I had a last name. All I can remember is stuff about him. But I haven't let it get to me too much. It's easier to focus on more important things, like, y'know, staying alive. Besides, if I survive this thing, I bet everything else will just… fall into place.

The weird (well, weirder) thing is that every time Jun and I meet eyes, a chunk of memories hits me like a giant, stupid, out-of-control bus.

Which, if my currently-impaired memory is correct, is how I died.

Honestly, I'm both a little relieved and a little freaked out every time it happens. It's great to have this reassuring familiarity, but there's always the possibility that… well, I don't know…

the possibility that it's all a lie.

"Hey, Jun." I take a chance and call his name again. For a moment he catches my gaze and that staggering feeling comes over me. Time for a test, I think to myself. Just this once. To clear things up.

I'm hit with a tidal wave.

"Jun, remember that trip to the ocean? When I almost drowned and you were there so you pulled me out so it was all okay because—" Everything suddenly starts spilling out. Words pour out of my mouth as soon as they enter my mind, but it's all so... stable. Like memories should be. I think I've almost convinced myself, until I'm interrupted.


I stop talking and swallow. Jun looks away and something inside me kind of... clenches up. "What do you mean, no?"

He runs a nervous hand through his dark, unkempt hair. Even such a simple action seems ever-so-familiar. "Look, I'm... sorry. I really am. But I think you have the wrong guy. I don't remember ever... meeting you." He chooses his words carefully, which is something he only does with strangers. Which is what I am to him now.

But there's no use arguing. "No, no, I should be the one that's sorry. It must be a pain for me to keep doing this to you." I laugh a little even though it's not funny at all.

Jun smiles. "It's okay. We've all been kind of confused since the beginning of all this..." He shakes his head and looks towards me.

Ice cream. A blistering summer and melting ice cream and laughter and laziness and...

"I'd like to meet you properly," he says plainly. His gray eyes brighten a little as he sticks out his hand. "My name's Junichi Niwa."

"Nice to meet you... Junichi." I take his hand and shake it. "I'm Haruka."

And for a second I feel like something lights up behind the gray, but the moment is fleeting. I blink and it appears that nothing has happened at all.

His hand is warm.

It's then that my right pocket beeps and I realize that Day Two's mission has begun. "Let's do this," I mutter to myself.

The message says this:

"Erase the lies that torment a maiden's heart. You have 120 minutes. Fail, and face erasure." – The Reapers.

"Ow." There's the timer. It still hurts like heck.

It's exactly 6:00.