Disclaimer: I do not own Monochrome Factor.

Nobody saw him. Sometimes, on his better days, he told himself this was because he was a shadow in a world full of light. Of course they couldn't see him. He was beyond (or beneath) their level of detection. But on his bad days, most days, he thought it might be because he's a ghost

(in a world full of the living).

Invisible, untouchable, and haunting a world he doesn't belong to, wearing clothes the color of mourning.

(He is in mourning.)

He wouldn't be surprised if he'd died and not yet realized it, and this was his punishment for failing to protect the person he cared most about in the world; an endless purgatory of searching and never finding, each day dawning with new hope and each day closing with fresh despair. Perhaps there really wasn't any reincarnation coming at all. It would be fitting, he mused darkly, if another one of the truths he was "born" knowing turned out to be a lie.

Shirogane shook his head sharply. He couldn't afford to think like that. As long as the light had not yet fled from the world, he would come back. The light would return to his life, and Shirogane would know peace after centuries of restless wandering.

But still, it had been so long... As Shirogane glanced at the sky, he felt the old depression creeping up on him. The sun was setting. Another day gone without any sign.

Shirogane had gotten it into his head that he would appear during the day. After all, wasn't that when the light element in this world was at its strongest? It made sense. But this day was over. Which meant that Shirogane would not be seeing that person today.

(Where are you?)

As his hopeless feelings gained momentum Shirogane turned from the broad, clean main street, which was full of people hurrying home to their loved ones, into darker alleys that were narrow and filled with trash. They suited him better.

He eventually came to a shabby warehouse district with crumbling buildings and derelict cars. The shadows here were especially thick.

Shirogane paused. This was not ordinary darkness. This felt familiar.

Cursing aloud, he ran towards the epicenter of the swelling darkness, even as the moon began to rise in the east. But soon after he started running, he noticed something else strange. The creeping shadows were... disappearing? Had the portal already been sealed? But that's impossible. Only a king could do that... or a hakua, but there's no way that even a pack of them could seal a hole large enough to let out that amount of darkness. Who had done it then? It hadn't been Shirogane, and the other king of the light was far too busy with other matters to bother with each individual hole. And it certainly couldn't have been that traitorous, murdering bas-

Wait, up there. That brilliant glint. What on earth was that? Squinting past the reflected glare, Shirogane stared upward to behold a figure holding two knives in a reverse grip, the blades of which appeared to be made of glass. In sharp contrast to the strange knives which were sharply reflecting the moonlight, the figure holding them was in deep shadow. It stood seemingly unafraid on top of the upright metal crossbeam of a building that appeared to be under construction near the edge of the warehouse district, nearly six stories in the air.

Suddenly, the knives vanished into the air with a single pulse of light as concentric waves spread out, much like how a drop of water merges with a pool beneath it. The quick flash lit up the individual's face for only a moment, but it was enough. Shirogane gasped aloud at what he saw; the shape of the face, the black hair, and most of all those eyes...that shade of red that he had seen nowhere else.

He didn't want to say it out loud in case he may be wrong, but he couldn't stop himself. And so, Shirogane whispered a single name.


Hey, trying out a new story, so let me know what you think. Constructive criticism is always appreciated, but saying nice things is good too. (This is my way of telling you to review.)