He was walking alone that night. Without anyone, without street lights. Going to the direction his friend, or rather, former friend, directed him to, he shakes in fear but stood still.
The man named Hibiki Kurobu, a.k.a. Broken. He left the house at 7:00 PM to meet up with Muji Noritaka, a.k.a. Null for a special deal. Leaving his dear little sister, Miki, behind him, he enters the old HQ of their IT-based group, CCB (Computer Connection Brigade) at Kaizen University.
Broken made a deal with Null regarding the threat to his girlfriend, Mato Shimizu, a.k.a. Format. In the deal, Null will leave Format alone if Broken decides to come to the designated place and time to meet up with him. For the sake of his love, Broken agrees.
Slightly shaking but brave and determined, Broken opened the door.
"Ahh, yes. You finally made it." Said Null with a smile. "Have you decided then?"
"Of course." Broken said firmly. "I've decided to sacrifice myself, for her sake!"
Null laughed. "Even if that means...I'm going to kill you right here?"
Broken was slightly shocked. But he knew what to answer, even without thinking. "Yes."
"Hmm, wise decision." Said Null. "Don't worry, in exchange for your death, I promise to leave Format alone. You can even haunt me to death to verify that. And not just that, I'll keep this event a secret from everyone, especially Format. You can count on that."
With that, Null called two boys, Shido Kawaguchi (Exit) and Kondo Kioshi (Code), who are also members of CCB, like himself, Broken and Format. These two were Format's rivals in their studies.
"I think it would be best if I let these guys get their revenge on Format first. What do you think?" Said Null.
"Null..." Broken's heart was beating fast, but he said with ease these words: "...I accept everything that you will do to me."
"Hmm, good boy. Now Exit! Phase 1 - [Emotion]."
Exit drew a sword and stabbed Broken in the chest. It was painful indeed. But Broken was still steadfast.
"In case you didn't notice, Broken, this is a sword we are both familiar of - the Great Sword, used in ancient times and can cut and pierce through anything. Now...how do you feel?"
"I.....I'm still okay. Heheh. I trust you." Said Broken with a smile.
"Good. Now Code! Phase 2 - [Embrace]."
Code took the sword from Exit and cut Broken's right arm. Broken knelt on the floor in pain, but was still alive.
"So...you still insist on dying, my friend?" said Null.
"Of course. This way...I can protect her...forever..." said Broken, catching his breath.
"All right then. This time, I'll continue." Null grabs the sword.
"You two, get a sack!" Null said to the two.
"Okay!" said Exit and Code.
With that, Null goes for his shot. "I'm warning you - this one is painful."
Null grabs Broken's face and positions his sword near his cheeks.
"Phase 3 - [Expression]."
Without any other warning, Null peels off Broken's mouth. It was dreaded and bloody. But alas, Broken was still alive, catching his last breaths.
"I am the one who betrayed your trust." Said Null to Broken. "Avenge your own death, find your own meaning. Because...things like these happen for the reason of...purging our souls."
Broken was confused with what he said, as Null aimed for Broken's left eye.
"Since you are now unable to speak...this is...goodbye. Phase 4 - [Eyesight]."
Null stabs Broken's left eye, through his brain, and in the process, killing him directly. There were bloodstains on his face and slight tears in his eyes, but Null showed no regret, like a villain from a movie would. Broken laid down on the floor...lifeless.
A few moments later, Broken found himself in a room...his own room. He heard sounds of lament and crying outside. To his surprise, his family was grieving over his distorted remains inside the coffin. No one could hear him. He was invisible to their sight. Quickly, he ran to the bathroom to see if all of these things really happened.
"My...my face. My mouth...my left eye. My right arm. My...heart..." Broken was dead scared of himself in the mirror. "So I...really...died."
The next thing that happened is that he was teleported in a weird-looking room (kind of like the room where he was killed) with some sort of hologram screens. They seem to be teaching Broken something. He wondered if this is an illusion, since he's already dead.
And at last, Broken remembered his mission - to avenge his own death, kill Null, his murderer and former best friend, and protect his girlfriend, Format, forever.
"I should go to those two suckers first." he said to himself.
Exit was sitting on his room, counting the money that Null gave him after the mission. He lied down on the floor, thinking of happy thoughts, when suddenly, the whole house darkened and all the lights were shut off. He couldn't see anything. Then he heard a voice.
"Hello, Exit. Have you decided what to do with the money you earned..."
Exit was scared. "Show yourself! Who are you?"
"The money you earned...from stabbing my heart!" said the voice.
"N-no way! Y-you're..."
Just then, Broken suddenly appears behind him and gives him a good stab. Not only that, he also implemented the rest of the "phases" that were used in killing him. In this way, Exit died like him.
"Hahaha!" Broken laughed in vain and excitement. "So this is how avenging your own death feels like! It's good!"
But Broken remembered something. "Oh yeah, that's right. I have to make sure Format is safe."
In her house, Format was sick for a few days already because of fever. She couldn't go to school. Suddenly, she hears a semi-distorted voice, like one processed by computers and static noise.
"Dear girl...why are you crying?"
Format answered. "I can't contact Broken, my boyfriend, for about 2 days now. I wonder if anything bad happened to him. I'm really worried!"
"Don't be stressed." The voice said. "I am a spirit medium and I shall convey this message to your loved one, wherever he is, may he be alive or dead. I'm sure he's waiting for you out there."
Format wiped her tears. "Oh thank you very much! I-"
And then the noise and static-filled voice disappeared. Format was all alone.
But there was one thing different - Format's fever has disappeared too!
On her cellphone, she receives a text message:
"Hey Format, may I borrow your notes in C++? - Code"
Format was slightly annoyed. "Code? At this time? Jeez, what a stuck-up guy! Hmph, fine."
With her fever mysteriously disappearing, Format packs up her notes and goes to Code's house, which is just a few blocks away from hers. But when she knocked on the door, no one answered. She opened it, and to her surprise, she heard tragic screams. These screams got louder and louder as she went inside. And at last, she peeked into Code's room upstairs. Her face froze in fear.
It was Broken, delivering the Phase 4 - [Eyesight] to Code. She also saw Broken's body heavily tortured, bloody, and with a stab in his left eye, with blood oozing from his brain. It was a brutal scene.
Before Broken would notice anything, Format hid behind the doors and quickly yet quietly ran outside of the house and into the open. It rained hard.
"Why...why is Broken a zombie-like creature? What happened to him? Why did he kill code? Was all of that for real? I..."
Suddenly, she received a text message - from Null.
"Come to my house right now. It's regarding Broken."
She then dashes off to the next street, in the rain, without an umbrella.
"Welcome, Format." Null said as Format entered the house.
"W-what happened to Broken? Why does he look like a zombie-like creature killing Code? What do you know about this?"
Null smiled in a grim way. "What do you think...? Heheh."
"Y-you killed him!?" Format was surprised, angry, and confused.
And at that moment, Null hands over a Great Sword to Format.
"Yes, I did. Now...do as you please!" Null shouted with a crazy smile.
And with that, Format executes the Four Phases, killing Null the same way she saw how Broken seem to have been killed. She had no regrets, and cuts through the man with sharp and precise moves.
"Thank you...Format..." This was Null's last words.
Learning everything from Null then deciding for herself, she takes Null's uniform and disguises herself as Broken's murderer. Then she heads off in the heavy rain, trying to find the ghost of her loved one.
Meanwhile, Broken was walking alone in the rain. He was heading to one last destination - Null's house.
"I can't see very well...because of my left eye. Plus it's raining so hard."
Until before his very eyes, he saw someone in a boy's school uniform, standing tall and smiling grimly.
"No doubt about it." Broken said to himself. "I shall avenge my death...Null!!!"
He screamed as he performed the exact act of murder that was done to him by Null. Furiously, his right eye cried so much tears and blood as he pierced through Null's body.
But when Null fell unconscious on the ground, Broken noticed something in the man's neck.
"T-that's...the necklace...I gave to...I gave to..."
Suddenly, a flashback entered his mind. It was during Format's birthday. It was when he gave this necklace to Format, his most loved one.
"NOOO!!!!" He screamed in pain, trying to wake up Format, who is now a dead corpse. Tears of blood flowed from his right eye as he stared at Format's distorted face.
Later on, Broken heard a voice behind him.
"Broken...my love...why are you crying?"
Behind him was Format's ghost. This is where Broken started asking many questions.
Broken started speaking to her, in the static and noise-filled voice (this is mental telepathy, since their mouths were peeled off) "Why are you dressed like Null? And how did you find about my death? And more importantly, why did you let me kill you? I...I--"
"Listen!" Format said in mental telepathy as well, with tears on her right eye. "I discovered your death while you killed Code. I was there at his house because he wanted to borrow my C++ notes. But I ran away in shock and then Null contacted me about you. And that's when I found out that I saw your ghost and you were killed brutally by Null. So I...I avenged your death by killing Null the same way you were killed! Null handed me the sword and told me to 'do as I please' to him. And that's when I thought for myself...that you're gone and I can't be with you anymore. So I've decided to follow you in the afterlife...by dressing up as Null and letting myself be killed for your sake!"
Broken was sad and frustrated. "Why did you have to go through all of this? I just wanted you to live on and be happy! You could have just forgotten about me and went through the rest of your life! So why?"
Format had only one answer. "Because I love you."
Broken was shocked, but was happy. "I also did this deal with Null, you see...because I love you and I don't want to lose you or let you get hurt ever again."
"Well, right now...since we're both dead...we can be together again...this time...forever." Said Format as she embraced Broken, who stared at the dark, rainy sky. Then he looked back at Format.
"Broken...can I ask you something?"
"Yes, what is it?"
Format was a little shy. "Kiss me. Please."
But Broken was confused. "How? O-our lips are..."
Format went closer to Broken's face. "Let' use our imagination, okay?"
And within that moment, two brutally-killed departed souls held each other tight while doing a "Tragic Kiss".