Chapter One: Rebirth:
October 1st, 2009.
Tsuzuki stared forlornly at the cherry blossoms outside of Ju-Oh-Cho. Watari showed him Anna's charts this morning. At first, Tsuzuki didn't get it.
"So… what is it?" he asked. Watari gave him a serious look.
"Look closely," he said. Tsuzuki did so; puzzlement came onto his face.
"What's wrong with the Hell Stone?" he asked.
"It's breaking down," his friend explained. Tsuzuki's eyes widened in panic.
"What?!" he cried. Watari nodded.
"Yes," he said. "Anna will die again soon."
The scientist shook his head. "Hard to say exactly."
Worry ate at Tsuzuki's heart. "So…what should I do?"
Watari leaned in close to his friend's ear. "You know the answer already." Tsuzuki stepped back, shaking his head.
"No," he murmured. "No."
"I'm sorry, Tsuzuki," he said. "It's the most merciful way." The older shinigami shook his head.
"There has to be another way," he cried. "There has to!"
"I'm sorry," Watari said again. Tsuzuki ran off to clear his head.
Anna… His heart ached as he watched the fleeting pink blossoms flutter to the ground. Six whole months of being together; they had conquered so much in that short amount of time. Now it would be over? Tsuzuki tightly shut his eyes.
No! It can't end this way! But, what could he do? Anna would break down into white ash when the Hell Stone broke down. As Watari put it, removing the stone would be the most merciful way to go.
Tsuzuki sighed. If only there was some way to…
Tsuzuki's thoughts were interrupted when he noticed a shadow cast over him. He looked up to an old "friend." The shinigami blinked hard.
"Kato-san?" he asked. He slowly sat up as the old man smiled at him.
"Hey there, friend," he said. Tsuzuki shot him a cold glare.
"Why are you here?" he asked. "What do you want?" Kato-san gave him a little smile.
"I just want to talk," he said. The Shinigami only glared at him.
"About what? When did you die? And why didn't you check in here?" he questioned. Kato held up his hand.
"My death and why I am not judged are irrelevant right now," he told Tsuzuki. "There are far more pressing matters to deal with at the moment." The shinigami raised an eyebrow at him.
"More pressing?" he asked.
"Yes, Anna's Hell Stone will break down soon," the old man pointed out. Tsuzuki narrowed his eyes at him.
"How do you know that? Who told you?"
"I was the one that commissioned her stone to be made."
Tsuzuki's jaw dropped. "Say what?"
"Anyway, you don't have much time."
"So, what are you saying?"
Kato gave him the smile of a fox. "I have the answer right here." He reached into his coat and pulled out a small box. "Here, take it." At first, Tsuzuki just stared at him. His hand inched forward to the box. Before he knew it, the shinigami held the cool red velvet in his fingertips. He glowered at the old man.
"Open it," Kato insisted. Tsuzuki lifted the lid. His eyes widened at the white glimmer inside. The shinigami looked up at the old man.
"This is…" he said. Kato-san nodded.
"Yes," he said.
"But… this is a Heaven Stone!"
"I know; I wouldn't give it to you if I knew she couldn't handle it."
"If she couldn't handle it?" Tsuzuki stared at him with big eyes. "But… why are you giving me this?"
Kato smiled at him. "You love Malchik, don't you?"
"She's the one, isn't she?"
Kato shrugged. "Well then, fight for your love, Tsuzuki. Reap its succulent fruit." He vanished and Tsuzuki blinked at the empty space. He looked down at pure white Heaven Stone in the velvet box in his hand.
Tonight was supposed to be the last night. Tsuzuki promised his co-workers that he would take Anna's Hell Stone out after one last date. Tonight would be Anna's choice.
"I want to go out that new sushi place that opened," she said. Tsuzuki gave her a sad nod.
"Yeah," he said. "Anything you like." Anna gave him a puzzled look.
"You feeling okay?" she asked. Her boyfriend quickly nodded.
"Yeah, yeah," he lied. "I'm good, really." Naturally, she didn't believe him.
"We don't have to go out if you're not up to it," the woman offered. Tsuzuki shook his head.
"No, no," he insisted. "We'll go out tonight!"
She tilted her head at him. "You sure?"
Tsuzuki sat sheepishly in a booth with Anna near the window. He still had the Heaven Stone in his possession. His co-workers had no clue what he was planning. The shinigami had been battling with this all day. On the way to the restaurant, Tsuzuki turned the decision over and over again in his mind. Anna was the only one for him.
Tsuzuki secretly took the stone out of the box under the table. He glanced over at his beloved. The shinigami took in a deep breath as Anna noticed his expression.
"Something wrong, Asato-kun?" she asked with chopsticks in her hand. Tsuzuki returned to earth in a snap.
"Huh? Oh, no," he replied. "Uh… close your eyes and open your mouth for me, would you Anna-chan?" His girlfriend blinked at him.
"Huh?" she asked. The woman closed her eyes and opened her mouth wide.
"'Ow's 'his?" she asked.
"That's good…" Tsuzuki mumbled. He drew the stone into his fist. I'm so sorry to do this to him, Anna-chan…
Tsuzuki quickly shoved the Heaven Stone into Anna's mouth.