Disclaimer: I'm not responsible for any mental scarring caused by the reading of this fic

Disclaimer: I'm not responsible for any mental scarring caused by the reading of this fic. This fic is rated T for badly-written kissing, adult themes, and major ooc-ness (I tried to fix it Frankie, hope you like the edits). If you don't like that, then here's your chance to leave. Kthxbai.

"I relinquished it, Neku. It's not that difficult to understand, even for you. Hee hee…"

He giggled, and the sound was so casual and carefree that Neku ad to clench his fists so he wouldn't 'accidentally' punch Joshua's lights out.

"Don't screw with me Joshua. What are you scheming?"

"Neku, don't be silly. You're always assuming I've got something up my sleeve."

"Every time I've assumed otherwise, I've ended up getting used."

Joshua shrugged. "Let's let bygones be bygones, shall we? You should let go of those petty little misconceptions. We're friends, aren't we?"

Neku grumbled angrily. "I just don't get it, Joshua! Why would you give up your position? You were the Composer! How could you possibly benefit?"

Joshua frowned, Neku noticed that he was now very, very close, when had that happened?

"Neku…" Joshua whispered, voice intense. "You've been around me long enough –three years?- to know how the duties of Composer are passed on."

Neku was finding it harder and harder to form any type of coherent speech. "Ah… y-you'd have to b-be… erased…"

"Very good, Neku."

"Then wh-why-"

"Am I still here? That's the reason I gave up the job, Neku. I'd rather do that than get erased by some Reaper."

Neku stepped back and looked Joshua up and down. "So… you've escaped erasure?" Neku was having a hard time believing it was that easy.

"For the time being, yes. However, very soon… the new Composer will take his position. And, technically, I am still the Composer. At that point… I'll be no more." He smiled sadly.

"W-wait, so you are going to be erased?"

"That's what I told you Neku," Joshua said, annoyingly casually for someone who was soon going to be erased from existence. "You should really work on your listening skills."

"Why couldn't you just have fought?" Neku demanded. He had tears in his eyes now, when had those gotten there? "You could have survived!" Neku couldn't believe it. Joshua… his friend, for three years… it couldn't be ending like this. It wasn't right.

"Yes, that's true, I could have. However, the rate of survival was low. Besides, Neku…" He sighed, twirling his hair. Neku felt a pang somewhere in his chest. He was going to miss that. "I'm tired, my Soul is waning. In other words… my timer is just about up."

"But why?!"

"I came to say goodbye."

"J-Joshua, I-"

Joshua silenced him with a chaste kiss. Neku would have protested -I'm not a homo you creep!- if this hadn't been the last time, the last chance to give Joshua what he wanted, before… Neku didn't want to think about it. Instead, he pulled Joshua's thin frame closer, fisting his hands in the boy's dusty hair. Joshua responded eagerly, how long has he been wanting this?. It was a desperate, clumsy attempt at anything close to intimate, but they made do.

Finally, Neku noticed the passerby were stopping and giving them… interested looks.

"J-Joshua," Neku panted, pulling away almost reluctantly. Almost. "P-people… people are staring."

People were indeed staring. Maybe Udagawa had not been the best place to do this.

Joshua just giggled. Neku marveled at the sound, it was almost as if he had all the time in the world. It was the laugh of someone with no cares or worries. Neku bit his lip. He'd miss that too.

He held Joshua close, stroking his ashen hair, absorbing every little detail. The warmth emanating from the skinny boy. The soft silkiness of his hair. His ivory, almost-white skin. His breath, hot and ragged against Neku's shoulder.

"A wise man once told me," Joshua murmured softly, "That the dying feel no pain. The pain is felt only in those left behind."

"Don't leave me… Joshua… you can't do this." Neku's voice cracked.

"Don't worry Neku… it's just like those times I got called to the UG."

"You're stupid, Josh," Neku sniffled. "It's not the same. You're not coming back."

"A soul never truly dies, Neku dear. Hee hee… I'll be back soon. I'll come for you. It's a promise."

Neku felt Joshua's body become lighter, his voice weaker. "N-no!" Neku cried. "Not like this! There was so much we could have done, so much we could have shared! It can't end, not now!"

Joshua only smiled gently as his form slowly faded. "It's okay, Neku. Just… let go…"

There was a blinding flash of light, and he was gone.

Neku crumpled to the asphalt and broke down sobbing. "No… no… no…" he repeated, as if it were a mantra that would bring Joshua back.

Something light, like the soft caress of fingers –his fingers- brushed against his cheek. Neku whipped his head towards the –what was it again?. A single feather, pure and white, drifted through the air, a sharp contrast to the dark colors of Udagawa. Neku reached for it instinctively. He touched it, just barely, with the tip of a finger.

The feather shattered into a million pieces of light, scattering across the pavement and disappearing as fast as they'd appeared.

The dying feel no pain. The pain is felt only in those left behind.

Neku wiped his eyes and got up.

It's okay, Neku. Let go.

He looked up at the wall tag, paint now cracking and peeling in places. It was where it had begun. It was where it had ended. Now, it was the place of a new beginning. For Neku Sakuraba. For Shibuya.