Disclaimer: I do not own "Hareluya II Boy." No profit is being made from this story.
Author's Note: This story contains sensitive subject material.
It was another quiet, peaceful day in a Tokyo suburb, well away from the frantic pace of the inner city. The sun was shining and a cool breeze filled the air. School had finished for the day and as she did many afternoons, Yamana Michiru was standing behind a blanket that displayed various silver jewellery items she had made.
"Thank you very much" she said as she handed over a bracelet to a customer. The woman accepted her purchase and walked away, looking at it with delight. Yamana smiled as she watched her go. She loved seeing the joy her work brought to people.
Some time later, after she had sold a few more pieces of jewellery, she decided to call it a day. She packed up the blanket and the remaining jewellery items into her backpack and started to walk away. But before she could take more than a step the air was filled with the roar of an engine. She spun around to see that a car was barrelling down the road, heading right for a little girl that stood frozen with fear, her eyes wide.
Without hesitation Yamana ran across the road and scooped the little girl out of harm's way just in time as the car zoomed past, not even slowing as she put the child down on the pavement.
"Idiot!" she yelled after it before turning to the scared girl. "Are you okay?" she asked gently.
The girl nodded, still too frightened to speak. A woman, clearly her mother, hurried up and hugged her. "Kumi-chan" she said, her voice filled with relief.
"Mama" the little girl replied as she returned the hug. After a moment the woman stood up and turned to Yamana.
"Thank you so much" she said.
"It's okay. I'm just…"
They all looked over to see that the car had driven right into a street light. The car's bodywork was crumpled, the windows broken and smoke was pouring out from under the hood.
Yamana ran over to a nearby payphone and called an ambulance. She prayed that it would arrive in time.
Soon afterwards she was describing what had happened to Makoto Ichijou in his dressing room at Live House Dali. He listened intently with a frown on his face.
"I overheard the paramedics say that the driver seemed all right except for a concussion" she explained. "They said it looked like he was smiling."
"I'm just glad you're okay" he replied.
"Thanks. I've never seen anything like it. It was like he didn't even see the little girl."
His frown deepened. "I've heard reports of a lot of strange accidents happening recently and people being found wandering around in a daze. Something strange is going on."
"Do you think we should tell Hibino?"
"Not yet. He'd just say it's not his problem. For now let's just keep our eyes open for anything unusual."
They would not have to wait long. In a secret laboratory far from prying eyes, a man watched as some of his men worked at a table covered with elaborate chemistry apparatus filled with a bubbling yellow liquid. One operated a Bunsen burner while another carefully added a measure of powder to the liquid.
Dressed in an expensive black suit, the man was tall and lean, with short black hair and dark, cold eyes. He was known as Boss Akira Sasaki.
Ah, Zen. What a brilliant creation he thought. This incredibly potent designer drug induces a feeling of such blissful tranquillity that the user completely ignores everything around them. And the best part? Once the high wears off they will do anything to get more. They will lie, cheat, steal, anything it takes. Zen will make me a fortune.
One of his henchmen walked over. "The latest batch is ready to go."
"Splendid. Be sure to distribute some free samples at Rakeun High School. Those poor teenagers stressing over their studies need something to help them relax" he said with an evil smile.
The henchmen returned his smile. "You got it boss."
Within less than a week the effects of Zen upon the city were being felt as more and more people were seen wandering the streets aimlessly in a drug-induced haze. Violent crime skyrocketed as the addicts began committing robberies and muggings in their desperation to get money to pay for more Zen.
This is getting out of hand Ichijou thought darkly as he strode down the streets on his way to school. He'd already seen half a dozen broken shop windows where valuable goods had been stolen. Thank God Yamana agreed to stop displaying her jewellery until this mess is solved.
He was abruptly startled out of his thoughts when two guys wearing Rakeun High uniforms stepped out of an alley and blocked his path. He recognised them as Kazumi Tanaka and Naomi Tatsuta. Both of them looked feverish, with unnaturally bright eyes. They were also sweating and trembling slightly.
What? Even my own classmates are getting hooked on this stuff?
"Hey Ichijou-san" said Tanaka, his voice awkward and hesitant. "Can you lend us some money?"
He frowned. "You don't need money. You both need to see a doctor right away."
"No, no it's fine" Tatsuta said with a dismissive wave of his hand. "We just need some money, that's all."
"Sorry I can't help you" Ichijou replied firmly. "I really think…"
"No! Give us money!" Their faces twisted with rage as they both pulled out knives and closed on him while shivering as if they were in the middle of a blizzard. Ichijou took a quick step forwards, seized both their wrists and squeezed, forcing them to drop their knives. He then slammed their heads together, knocking them both out.
"That's it. I can't stand by any longer" he said.
After classes had finished Ichijou met up with Yamana and Hibino Hareluya in an empty classroom. He told them about his encounter with Tanaka and Tatsuta.
"Are you okay?" Yamana asked concernedly.
"I'm fine. But we have to stop these drug dealers" he said urgently.
She nodded. "Three of my classmates are in hospital. They injured themselves while on Zen."
"See Hibino? Something has to be done before this entire city is crippled" Ichijou insisted.
"That's true" Hibino agreed. "No-one does this to my city and gets away with it. Ore-sama will soon put a stop to this drug." He grinned broadly. "But first let's get some okonomiyaki. Ore-sama needs to keep his strength up."
Ichijou sighed but said nothing.
Hibino stared in shock and disbelief at the sight before him, his mind unable to fully process what he was seeing. After a long moment he managed to speak.
In front of him was his favourite eating place, the okonomiyaki restaurant. It was a scene of utter disarray, with broken windows, overturned chairs and food splattered on the walls and floor.
Ichijou and Yamana stood behind him and watched him carefully. Their expressions were sympathetic but they were also ready to stop him if he went crazy. Finally he came out of his stupor.
"What the Hell happened here?" Hibino exclaimed.
"Zen addicts broke in and robbed it" replied a bystander. "They were so desperate for cash they turned the place upside down looking for anything valuable."
Hibino growled. "This means war!"
In a dark alleyway a man clad in a trench coat was leaning against a wall and glaring impatiently at his watch. He'd arranged to meet some of his 'customers' here but they were late. He didn't want to go back to the boss empty-handed but he was getting tired of waiting.
"Excuse me" said a sweet female voice.
The dealer's mood immediately improved as he looked over to see a beautiful teenage girl standing in front of him. Her expression was both hopeful and nervous, a look he'd seen on many first-time customers. Putting on a sympathetic voice he asked, "can I help you miss?"
"M, my boyfriend cheated on me" she replied hesitantly. "A friend of mine said you had something to make me feel better."
Perfect he thought. "I sure have" he said with a grin. He reached into his pocket and took out a container filled with yellow pills. "This is Zen. Just one of these pills and you'll be happier than ever. First one's free."
She smiled and then yelled, "Hibino!"
An engine roared and a motorcycle came zooming down the alleyway. The dealer had just enough time to realise he'd been suckered before Hibino leaped off the bike and knocked him to the ground with a haymaker.
Ichijou ran up to Yamana. "Great acting."
Hibino hauled the dealer to his feet and slammed him into a wall. "Tell Ore-sama where the drugs are being made."
"N, no way."
Hibino grinned. "Hard way it is then" he said as he withdrew a feathery fan.
"Okay, okay you win!" The dealer exclaimed after just a few moments of Hibino's tickle-torture. "The Zen's being manufactured in an abandoned warehouse at the docks."
"Thanks very much" said Hibino. He put away his fan, knocked the dealer out cold with a single punch and then turned to Ichijou and Yamana.
"Let's get to that warehouse."
Night had fallen by the time they arrived at the warehouse. The three of them peered cautiously through a window. Inside was a large room filled with machinery, most prominently a large tank filled with yellow liquid. Men clad in coveralls operated the machinery while a man in a black suit looked over it all with a wicked smile.
"This is definitely it" said Ichijou grimly. "That tank must be full of liquefied Zen."
"What can we do?" Yamana asked. "There's so many of them."
Hibino grinned. "Stand back. Leave this to Ore-sama." With that he leaped through the window, breaking the glass with a flying kick.
"What the Hell is that idiot doing?" Ichijou exclaimed.
Inside the warehouse all of the workers were startled by the window breaking. They all turned to see Hibino.
"Who dares?" Boss Sasaki yelled.
"Nobody brings drugs into Ore-sama's city and gets away with it" said Hibino firmly. "Ore-sama suggests you all take cover." He then reached behind his back and produced a firework rocket and a lighter. His grin broadened as he lit the fuse. The workers all took cover just in time before it took off. With a high whistle the rocket flew through the air and arced around to fly right into the tank of liquid Zen.
The tank exploded, sending blazing liquid in all directions. Tables and papers ignited, the fire quickly spreading throughout the warehouse. Yelling in panic the workers all ran for the doors. Hibino simply turned and leaped back through the broken window.
"That was crazy Hibino" Ichijou chided.
"What are you griping about? It worked."
Yamana looked up at the burning building. "Is anyone still in there?"
"Relax, Ore-sama counted how many people were inside and they all made it out" Hibino replied. He frowned. "Wait, there was that one guy in the fancy suit…"
"I will kill you!"
Hibino turned to see Boss Sasaki glaring at him furiously. The man's face and suit were stained with soot but he didn't seem to notice. In one hand he gripped a katana in a black lacquered saya.
"You ruined everything" he said angrily. "You took my factory so now I will take something from you." He drew his sword and assumed a ready stance. Hibino laughed and pulled his baseball bat from behind his back.
With a cry of rage Sasaki charged him and threw a volley of slashes with his sword. Hibino casually blocked each one with his bat. Sasaki increased his speed and ferocity but still none of his attacks got through. Finally Hibino took a step forwards, knocked the katana out of his hand and then slammed the bat into his chin, knocking him out cold.
"Ore-sama wins again!"
"Great, now let's get out of here before the fire department shows up" said Ichijou.
With the Zen off of the streets the crime rate soon decreased as the addicts were placed into treatment programs to rehabilitate them. A week later Tokyo had returned to normal.
"Hi Ichijou" Yamana called. She was back at her usual spot with her jewellery designs on their familiar blanket.
"Hi Yamana" he replied as he walked over.
"Where's Hibino?" she asked.
He shrugged. "He said he wasn't ready to go. After going a few days without okonomiyaki he said he needed to catch up on what he'd missed."
Before she could reply they both heard a groan of pain. They looked over to see Hibino stumbling towards them. He was hunched over and clutching his stomach with an expression of nausea on his face.
"Hibino! Are you okay?" Yamana asked.
"Ugggh, Ore-sama ate too much, too fast" he groaned.
"Too much okonomiyaki. I never thought I'd hear those words from you" said Ichijou. "Is that really you Hibino?"
"Shut up Ichijou! Ore-sama will… Urrgggh!" Hibino stood up fully, his eyes blazing, only to hunch over again a second later.
"Hang on I'll get you home" said Ichijou, his tone more sympathetic.
"I'll come too" said Yamana.
"It's okay, I can manage by myself" Ichijou replied. He went over and supported Hibino's weight. "Come on, let's get you home. See you later Yamana."
"Bye. I hope you feel better soon" she said.
Hibino leaned heavily against Ichijou as they both stumbled around a corner. A second later…
"Ah, that feels better."
"It went all over my shoes!"
While she felt bad for Ichijou, Yamana couldn't help giggling softly. Yes, things were definitely back to normal.