If Hell went by any other name, it was definitely Shibuya.

Dead or alive, Neku couldn't stand either version of the bustling city. It was a sea of vanity and vapidity, with its only saving grace being its magnificent street art. How fitting it was, unbeknownst to the volatile teen, that he met his masker viewing one of the spray-painted masterpieces. Now he was stuck playing the Game – and a sick, demented game it was – while struggling more than ever to maintain some semblance of his sanity.

He had managed to survive a week in bizzaro Shibuya, better known as the UG, facing foe after foe in the fight of his life. Despite emerging triumphant, freedom was stolen from his yet again, and Neku found himself thrown into a second round with an absolutely insufferable partner. With Shiki presumably gone for good, it didn't seem like the nightmare would ever end. All he could do was suppress the urge to strangle Joshua and hope he lasted until the end of the week.

Odds aren't looking good at this rate, Neku mentally grumbled. His third argument of the day with Joshua had left him in a sour mood; he always knew just the right buttons to press, with his infuriating smirk and condescending tone. Well, Neku wasn't about to suffer any more of it – at least not before he cooled off a bit.

Of all things, Neku had lost his temper at Joshua's picky taste in food. What kind of twisted kid didn't like hamburgers? He supposed it was the straw that broke the camel's back, causing him to go storming off in the opposite direction. Surprisingly, his snobby partner had yet to tag along behind him, but he didn't care. They had plenty of time to complete the mission, enough for Neku to gather his thoughts as well as his patience.

He opted to duck into an unmarked alleyway, propping himself up against the nearest wall and closing his eyes. If he could just block out those insistent voices inside his head for a few minutes…

"Attention, heptopascal! Nap time's not a part of my calculations!"

The amplified voice from above startled Neku out of his moment's rest. Immediately alert again, he looked above to spot an ominous figure on the rooftop. He bore the appearance of a Reaper and a wicked sneer. Everything about him was unsettling, which wasn't a good thing when your partner was nowhere in sight.

"Just who the hell are you supposed to be?" Neku questioned him, uneasy but standing his ground all the same.

And what's with that megaphone, anyway?

Neku couldn't help but raise a brow at the device clutched in his hand. The man didn't respond initially, first cackling hysterically, then clearing his throat and yelling into the megaphone once more.

"You're zetta slow! What do I look like, some run-of-the-mill radian?"

Neku wasn't sure how to respond to his awkward manner of speech. Math wasn't his worst subject by any means, but the word play was already grating on his nerves.

Alright, this guy's officially a nut. But something tells me I don't want to tangle with him. He seems tough.

His eyes darted about frantically in search of Joshua. If worse came to worse, which he suspected was inevitable, he would have to fight him, and he couldn't do so without his partner.

Now, where's that asshole when you need him? I've got a bad feeling about this…

The man interrupted him again, his voice reflecting a growing impatience.

"Turning your back on me is one mistake you don't wanna be making, zero. I'll spell it out for the sake of your fractional IQ. The name's Sho Minamimoto, GM of this round and future Composer of the UG!"

Neku snapped his head back towards Sho, mouth agape. He could feel his blood beginning to run cold. The situation was deteriorating by the second.

Shit, I'm in trouble!

"No way! You're the Game Master?!" he blurted out, barely overcoming his shock. Sho heaved an exaggerated sigh.

"Irrational's not how I operate, so crunch the numbers right the first time, got it? You're kinda dragging down my expression here."

"I'd say you're about as irrational as they come, freak." Neku instinctively began to back away, hoping to stall for time. "I'm not a part of your messed up math world, so lay off the puns. They're annoying."

Sho seemed to have other plans judging from the gleam in his eyes. Before Neku could even blink, the GM was inches from his face, grinning from ear to ear.

W-what the… how'd he move so fast?!

A forceful hand underneath his chin delayed any possibility of a reaction, and even then, his resistance was quickly proving meaningless. The man possessed an ungodly strength, holding him at bay simply by pressing his body against Neku's.

"Get away from me!" Neku screamed, pounding on the other's chest. Catching his wrist as though it were made of paper, Sho leaned forward, his breath heavy on his captive's cheeks.

"You know," he started lustily. "You're zetta cute from this perspective. Why so hasty? Hot date with that clingy binomial of yours?"

This creep's been stalking me! Why? And for how long?

"Joshua?" Neku gasped for breath. "Even if I did swing that way, it wouldn't be for that little… ugh!"

He cried out suddenly, feeling a crushing pressure on his wrist. Sho's features were appropriately sadistic as he continued to tighten his grip despite Neku's ardent protests.

"S-stop it! That hurts, you asshole!" In seconds, he had been reduced to whimpers. "Please, just…"

"I wonder, does your pain threshold continue without limit?" Sho pondered aloud, ignoring his pleas. His chuckling was sinister and sent shivers down Neku's spine. "Or does it terminate… along with you?"

Furious with his twisted toying, Neku renewed his efforts to escape. Sho merely shrugged off each attempted blow, staring at him with an amused visage.

"What the hell you want from me?!" the youth yelled. His squirming ceased when a heated pair of lips descended upon his own. A questing tongue pushed past the forbidden boundary, invading his mouth and teasing its corners.

A muffled sound of surprise was forced out of Neku, his senses sent ablaze. Sho didn't stay still for long, slipping his hand beneath the boy's shirt and grazing his icy fingers along the exposed skin. He shivered at the contact, involuntarily arching his back. His hips collided against Sho's in the process, creating a very pleasant friction. Neku squeezed his eyes shut to fend off the traitorous sensations overwhelming him.

Dear god, I'm being manhandled, and I'm… I'm liking it?!

He couldn't explain why his body was reacting the way it did. Disgusted with himself, he would've craned himself away had there been adequate space; for now, he was trapped in the spider's web with no means of survival. His mental barrier was the only thing keeping him from crumbling entirely.

I won't give into this sicko! Focus, focus-

Sho broke the one-sided kiss, nipping at Neku's ear and effectively breaking his concentration. He quivered slightly, a bright red blush flooding his cheeks. This Sho character had gifted hands indeed…

"Now you're thinking with the right angle," Sho purred. He lapped a delicate trail down the side of his neck. He was rewarded with a stifled moan. Meanwhile, his hand dropped to Neku's abdomen, exploring underneath his belt. He continued in the same sultry growl.

"My matrix went haywire when I first saw you. A desire equaling infinity… I didn't think it was possible, but you break every law ever devised. Your passion, your drive, your beauty… all zetta astounding."

Neku pieced together a weak retort. "I swear, if you say I want to zetta fuck you—

Sho laughed. "Not this iteration. But…"

Neku shifted at the uncomfortable hand shoved down his pants, and then was promptly knocked for a loop by Sho's shameless grope, digging into his captor's arm for support. His self-control was wavering. He bit his lip to stop himself from mewling like a coy virgin, but the embarrassing noises vocalized themselves anyway.

"The next…"

His breath came in labored pants. All dignity was lost when Sho grasped him more firmly, stroking in all the right places. Neku moaned loudly.


"Flawless," Sho whispered at the mention of his name. He sucked roughly on a tender bit of flesh below Neku's jaw. The stimulation was quickly becoming too much to handle. "Such a beautiful solution. Say it again."

He bucked against that expert hand, doing exactly as he was told. "Mmngh… Sho!"

It was all so terribly humiliating. How could one person command him so utterly? He would've never submitted to anyone like this, and yet he was folding like a house of cards to a complete stranger.

A tan… handsome… muscular stranger…

No, dammit! I won't—

It was too late to turn back now. Sho bit down and simultaneously gave him a hard squeeze. Neku shuddered briefly, releasing into his waiting hand. He slumped forward against Sho, light-headed and weak on his feet.

"I've crunched decimals with more stamina than you," he taunted with glee. He removed his hand and brought it to his mouth, slowly licking it clean. "You're going to be a zetta difficult equation to crack. But challenges are what keep the problems interesting, yeah?"

He paused to examine the telltale mark of their encounter on Neku's neck. Apparently satisfied with his work, Sho pressed his lips to Neku's cheek in an almost affectionate sort of way, allowing himself one final quip.

"Some Old Horses Can Always Hear Their Owner Approach. Look forward to me… Neku."

Sho was already gone when Neku finally composed himself. Running a shaky hand through his hair, he adjusted his collar over the hicky and straightened out his clothes. He stumbled out of the alleyway, mind swimming with conflicting thoughts. Vaguely he registered Joshua calling out to him some time later; to Neku, all that mattered now was making sense of what in the hell just happened, a task that would try him over the next few days.