.... i swear I will update By Chance sometime this month. I have the last chapter on my hard-drive, halfway done. It's a long chapter, so that's...partially why there is a delay. And it's pretty intense. And yeah. I'm trying very hard not to run off and play RE:COM right now. Well, here's the first chapter of my little baby. I have seven chapters or so posted on LJ, but figured I'd spread the love here. Joshua's slightly OOC at the beginning, but tends to fade back in and out, I suppose.
Pairings: Josh / Neku
Summary: After having lost a bet with Mr. Hanekoma, Joshua is forced to seek assistance from his ex-proxy. When Joshua informs Neku of his lost-bet, Neku hesitantly wonders what Joshua has to do. It comes as a large surprise to the ex-player that the prim and snarky Joshua has to cross-dress for an entire year at his school and get the student body to believe he is, in fact, a girl.
"Neku, be certain that you have all of your things together tonight. I don't want you running around the house tomorrow like a chicken with your head cut off, looking for your books and whatnot. Make sure your clothes are set out, too."
Neku groaned and nodded negligently to his mother's rambles. His heavy eyes lidded halfway. His left hand absentmindedly guided the spoon through his dinner, watching in amusement as it made small indents behind it. At last, he lifted his gaze when he heard a scoff from the other side of the kitchen. His mother stood in the small archway, hands on her hips with a frown. Neku gulped and set his spoon down quickly, this time giving the older woman his undivided attention.
"Your lack of manners must just be because of your age," the red-head sighed and fretfully shook her head. "I have to work until midnight, so if I see you awake when I get home, well, you don't want to know."
"I know, Mom," Neku recited listlessly and offered a weary smile.
The red-haired woman sighed a second time. "Junior year is an important time, Neku. I don't want you slacking off this year. I'm glad you've finally become more social…just try and get your grades up as well, okay? That's all I'm asking for: just a bit more effort."
Neku nodded and smiled again. "I will, Mom. Don't worry. I'm turning over a new leaf," the once-slacker chuckled and rubbed the nape of his neck.
"I've noticed…for the most part," his mother responded with a gentle smile of her own. "Well, I better get going before I'm late. If you're still hungry, you know where the food is. Have a goodnight, honey, and if I'm not awake tomorrow morning, have a good first day."
"Thanks, Mom. Have a good night at work," Neku answered and watched as his mother left the room and then moments later the house.
"Junior year, huh?" Neku grumbled to himself once alone. His hand instinctively picked his spoon back up and began running it through the rice on his plate. "Hopefully it won't be as big of a drag as sophomore year was. At least I got Shiki and Beat to hang out with—and Rhyme after school." The teen smiled at that thought.
It had been a month after his three-week fiasco in the Reapers' Game. When he first returned, at the beginning of July, he was a bit weary. What would his Mother do if he suddenly came back from the dead? To the boy's astonishment, his mother's memory of his death had not been erased— nor did she speak of his absence during those three weeks. In fact, no one remembered the horrific shooting. Neku had tried looking it up online, in newspapers, and even asked a few distant friends from school he had spoken to once or twice, but no one had a clue as to what he was rambling about. Neku decided, after those first few days, that he had another thing to be grateful about. Not only did he have his three new friends and a new outlook on life, but he also had escaped the awkwardness of his revival.
Speaking of friends, the first time Shiki came over Neku's mother instantly fell in love with her. She loved the youth's simplicity—she had once said that that her brown hair and glasses made her far more attractive than the young girls who were out and about, showing off their bodies in tight clothing. Neku's mother wasn't entirely sure on her opinion on Beat, but she loved how adorably sweet Rhyme was. It was safe to say that his friends met his mother's expectations.
And then there was Joshua… Neku had yet to see the Composer after their final game—their Gentlemen's Duel. Neku had lain awake a few times in bed, wondering quietly why he hadn't shot. Deep down, he knew the answer. He knew that it was impossible for him to take anyone's life…especially someone he had connected with as much as he had with Joshua. Neku wasn't a killer…and he often speculated why Joshua had returned him, and all his friends, to the RG. It didn't make any sense, but he didn't question it.
"I'm just glad that I never have to see another Noise monster in my entire life," Neku murmured aloud as he took a bite of his dinner.
Neku had visited Mr. Hanekoma during his month back in the RG. The café owner had been astonished that the red-head would even want to see him again, considering he had been an obvious part of the game. The two males remained friends and Neku found himself dying to ask if Sanae was truly CAT. He figured he'd ask eventually…
"Or not. That's kind of a hard question to ask someone," the teenager pointed out as he finished his meal and brought the empty plate to the sink. He was about to set about cleaning it when there was a knock on the door. Eyebrows furrowing in confusion, Neku averted his gaze to the small clock on the kitchen wall. It read seven-thirty.
"Maybe Mom ordered something online," Neku yawned as he set the plate down and headed down the small hallway of their house towards the door. With a second yawn, the red-head pulled it open.
And within another second, he wished he hadn't.
His heart clenched and his stomach dropped. Pinpricks of illogical pain shot up in his chest, making him rather lightheaded. Struggling to remain standing, Neku gripped tightly onto the door he held open, eyes refusing to make eye-contact with the figure standing on his doorstep. He quickly bit back the urge to expel his dinner from his stomach and weakly looked upwards at last.
"What are you doing here?"
"I've left you breathless? I'm flattered," cooed the stranger who really wasn't all that much of a stranger.
"Your voice makes my head hurt," Neku ground out lamely. His free hand shot up to his forehead and rubbed at his temples, feeling the beginning of a migraine coming.
"Still the same cheery boy, I see," the silver-haired teenager remarked sarcastically.
Neku groaned audibly and stood up straight, holding the door threateningly. He abolished the childish urge to slam it shut and instead narrowed his eyes at the 'guest'. "And you're still an ass, I see."
A soft giggle was his answer.
"I wasn't aware that you could travel to the RG," Neku grumbled, refusing to make direct eye-contact with haunting hues of violet.
"Mm…I can do as I wish," the teen responded cockily, hands shoving into his black pockets. "You're forgetting how powerful I am, Neku. A small change of my frequency isn't that hard. In fact, it's quite elementary." A smirk followed.
"Right. I was really supposed to know that," Neku answered sardonically and gripped the door tighter. "What do you want, Joshua? If you want to screw up my life again, just don't. I'm happy now. So just leave, okay? Or are you planning to shoot me again?"
"Tsk tsk," Joshua chided, his refined lips curling up into another smirk. "Do you really think I'd kill you a third time, Neku?"
Neku growled noticeably at those words. "Get off my steps, Josh."
The Composer giggled and shook his head, messy silver bangs falling in his face. "Oh stop being so grumpy, honestly. I came to ask you for a favo—"
"No," Neku interjected and his glare hardened. "I don't owe you anything and I'd never do anything to help you out, you unforgivable, insufferable…"
"I assure you it has nothing to do with the Game or the UG," Joshua pointed out and offered a crafty grin. "In fact, it really has nothing to do with you. More so, me. It's a rather easy request."
"Fine, humor me then. Tell me and I'll think about it," Neku stated and licked his lips in anticipation. His stomach churned knowingly, silently preparing him for what more than likely would be yet another tragic shock.
"Let me in and I'll tell you," Joshua nearly purred, eyes serious and indifferent, as usual.
Neku sighed heavily and hesitantly opened his door fully. Wordlessly, the ex-Player slipped back into the confines of his house and up the nearby stairs, figuring that Joshua was smart enough to follow and not snoop around his house. At least, if Joshua tried to pull something, Neku knew the layout of his house better than the Composer.
Once in his bedroom, Neku turned around and watched the Composer walk in and close the door behind him. Cautious blue eyes watched Joshua, charting his every move as the pair sat down on his bed, both on one side, leaving a good two feet between their teenage bodies.
"Start talking," Neku ordered, subconsciously breathing in deeply, allowing the familiar aroma of his room to dissolve his fear.
"How impatient you are," Joshua huffed and promptly sprawled out on the bed, messy hair spreading out around his head.
"Just tell me before I decide to call the cops," Neku grumbled, arms folded to his chest.
"Mm…you are aware that Mr. Hanekoma is a large gambler, yes?" Joshua wondered as he toyed with a wavy strand of silver hair.
"Yeah…he told me and Shiki that the first time we met him. We asked him who he was and he started rambling on about his birth date and that crap. What's your point?" Neku quipped as he lay down beside the Composer, making certain to keep a foot between him and his killer.
"Well, I was regretfully on the losing end of one of his many bets," Joshua informed Neku with pursed lips.
"…Oh great. What did you guys bet over? Erasure or something?" Neku muttered sarcastically, eyes on his ceiling.
"That's none of your business," the Composer chided and softly giggled. "But let me assure you, bets with Sanae are something you want to avoid. Anywho, I lost the bet and now I have to fulfill my end."
Neku blinked. "Which is?..."
"Sanae has a rather…perverted and twisted streak, which is rare for … his type of person," Joshua began and coughed rather awkwardly.
"Joshua, straight answer."
"…He wants me to attend public schooling with you."
Neku burst out in laughter for a good two minutes before faltering. "That isn't that bad, Joshua. With your brains, you'll pass with flying colors. Geez, why the hell do you need me for that?"
"…He wants me to cross-dress and convince the student body for the entire year that I'm a girl."
Neku paled. "…Oh."
Joshua cleared his throat, eyes fixed on the ceiling as well. "And considering women's clothing has never appealed to me enough to wear, I'm going to need your assistance in pulling this off. If I Welch on my end of the bet, well…let's just say Shibuya won't be all that safe for long." He was being half-serious.
"You're not joking, are you?" Neku guessed, face now ghostly white.
"Neku, try and be serious for a moment," Joshua huffed, arms folding to his chest.
"Why should I help you with this? I mean, I don't owe you anything, like I said, and well…" He thought for a moment. Public-humiliation of Joshua would actually be a good way of learning to forgive him for everything he did. Watching Joshua suffer might actually make him forgive the Composer. "…I'll do it. Just don't expect me to do anything out of the norm."
"Good," Joshua hummed and closed his eyes. "I'm glad you're seeing things my way, Neku"
"You are such an idiot," Neku groaned, his headache returning. "Do you even have girl clothes?"
"No. I already told you I don't find women's clothing appealing. But I can make some appear with my nifty powers," the silveret giggled, waving a hand absently in the stiff air.
"I doubt anyone is going to believe you're a woman, Josh. I mean, sure you've got the pale skin and skinny body, but you're a guy and uh…are flat-chested, you know?"
Joshua giggled again, hand coming down to rest over his mouth to stifle the laughter. "Some girls are just naturally that way, Neku."
Neku groaned and shook his head in dismay. "I can't believe I'm actually helping you, you creepy."
"Maybe, deep down, you just can't say goodbye to me," Joshua teased with another giggle, visibly relaxed.
Neku let his gaze wander to the Composer. He pondered for a moment. "Nope, sorry. That's not it," he decided with a soft snigger and sat back up on his bed, stretching his arms. "If you want to come by first thing tomorrow morning, do so. I dunno if my mom will be here… I'll help you do whatever it is you have to do before school starts."
"Mm…I'll just stay here for the night," Joshua concluded as he rolled on his side and pulled one of Neku's many pillows close to his chest. The skinny Composer nuzzled his face into it childishly. "Your bed is comfortable, that's a plus."
"You are…impossible," Neku growled. "And where do you expect me to sleep? There's no way that I'm sleeping on the floor while your old ass is in my bed."
Joshua pursed his lips together, eyes firmly shut against the pillow. "Sleep beside me, of course We used to do that during the Game. It'll be just like old times, Neku."
"That was before I figured out you killed me…" Neku growled and shook his head, at his wits end. "I'm not sleeping with you and that's final. Sorry if I disappointed you."
"Fine then, be stubborn," Joshua yawned, honestly not that bothered. "I'll sleep here and you can sleep in your closet. Night, Neku."
"My closet? No, no, no, you're getting off my bed now," the red-head ordered as he stood up, ready to push the Composer over the edge.
When Neku received no answer, he stared skeptically at the unmoving silver-haired male. The boy's chest rose and fell slowly. The part of Joshua's face that Neku could currently see appeared to be at ease and calm, something Neku wasn't accustomed to. He was used to smirks and sniggers and fake pouts that looked ridiculous. It didn't take long for Neku to realize that Joshua had already passed out…on his bed.
"Stubborn asshole," Neku groaned and wandered over to his gaming chair, sitting down in it. "If I'm stiff tomorrow, I'm blaming you," he added on.
With a yawn, the ex-proxy attempted to get comfortable in the plush chair, finding doing such was quite impossible. After a few moments of squirming, Neku gave up and let sleep overtake him.
I can't believe I'm actually doing this. I can't believe I let him sleep on my damn bed. I can't believe that he, of all people, would lose a bet. And…I can't believe that Mr. H would make him do that. Then again, the creep deserves it. I won't deny that it's going to be hilarious…
Neku pulled a black shirt quickly over his chest as he wandered out of his bathroom and back towards his bedroom. He had a good hour before he had to head off for school. His mother was passed out in her room, seemingly in a deep slumber, which was really a good thing considering he wouldn't have to answer awkward questions regarding the silveret.
When Neku returned to his bedroom, his gaze hardened. Joshua was up and staring blankly into space, looking as if he had just been ravished.
"You look horrible," Neku decided as he closed the door behind him. "You sure you're up for this?"
"Of course, Sunshine," Joshua responded with a yawn as his violet gaze drifted to Neku. "You already showered?"
"Gee, thanks for noticing," Neku sighed miserably and rubbed his arm. "But yeah. You were asleep so I figured I'd just get ready. You can shower…if you want, I guess. It's down the hall."
"No need to, I did last night before I arrived here," the Composer yawned and stretched his gangly limbs as he slipped off the bed.
"Okay, whatever," Neku grumbled and walked over to his closet, promptly leaning against it.
"Although I don't have to shower, we're going to need your bathroom," Joshua decided as he rubbed at his eyes.
"…For what?" Neku cocked his head.
"…are you that dense, Neku?" Joshua giggled drowsily and headed towards the door, glancing over his shoulder with a smirk. "I have to look presentable as a girl, don't I?"
"You're…not going to get yourself to look like a girl, Josh. Just give up now," Neku complained and fidgeted, attempting to get his clock to jump ahead an hour so that he could get to school already and see Beat and Shiki.
"I might not, but you will," Joshua purred and opened the door, nudging his head in his general direction. "Come now, Sunshine."
"…Gah," Neku groaned and followed Joshua out of his bedroom and down the hall to his small bathroom. Once there, he closed the door behind him and Joshua and gave the Composer a rather frustrated look. "You're not making my first day of school fun at all, Joshua."
"I know," the Composer lilted. "But you really don't have a choice, now do you?"
"I figured as much," Neku reasoned and leaned against the wall, arms folded to his chest. "Now, what are you going to wear? I guess a sweater and pants would create the best illusion and—"
Neku was cut short when Joshua's form glowed brightly for a moment. Within seconds, the Composer was dressed in a dark miniskirt with a frilly pink tank top. Ruffles adorned the top of it, giving the illusion that he was, in fact, a girl. Upon his feet were hot pink flip-flops and around his right wrist was a small bangle. Neku visibly tensed at the sight.
"Like it, Neku?" Joshua hummed, spinning around with a snicker. "I even went about shaving my legs before I came. Don't I look good?"
"You're…too into this," Neku murmured, hiding his face behind his hand. "This is so wrong, Josh. A skirt? Do you have any honor as a man?"
"Hm…I do," Joshua reasoned, plucking a strand of his silver hair. "I just don't like to Welch on my bets, that's all."
"You're so weird," Neku sighed and continued surveying Joshua, noting mentally how well he played the role of a girl—a pretty girl at that…
"Now, here's the part I need you for," Joshua stated as he waved his right hand, watching in amusement as a bag appeared on the counter. Neku eyed it and then the Composer, licking his lips nervously.
"What's in there? A bomb?" Neku guessed lamely, shifting his weight from one foot to another.
"No silly, makeup," Joshua informed Neku with a smirk as he unzipped the small bag. Inside was a girl's necessities—mascara, eyeliner, blush, foundation, eye shadow, and of course, lip-gloss. Neku blanched and moved back against the white wall of his bathroom, visibly tenser than before.
"You seriously are going all out, aren't you?" the red-head gulped uneasily. "If you know so much about what to do, why are you even asking me to help you? I obviously don't want to help so why?..."
"I need you to help me put the makeup on, Sunshine," Joshua explained and took a careful seat on the counter, legs dangling over it, his skirt making Neku even more uncomfortable. "Well, grab something and help. I'm sure you've stared at enough girls in your lifetime to know what goes where," he giggled.
"Bastard," Neku seethed and walked across the bathroom to grab a random piece of makeup. He eyed it, recognizing it as the same brand Shiki used. "Just...don't freak out, okay?"
Cautiously, Neku stood in front of Joshua, concentrating on his face. His stomach churned and his insides knotted, eying the Composer with a look of determination and disgust. Neku quickly bit back the urge to throw the bag at the door and demand Joshua to leave his life entirely, but thought better of it. He was the all-power Composer, after all…
"Neku, you're putting makeup on me, not performing surgery," Joshua deadpanned as he licked his lips.
Neku growled again. "If you weren't so damn powerful, I'd kick you out right now," he murmured and leaned forward, uncapping the mascara. Wordlessly, he brought the stick towards Joshua's eyes, mentally marveling at how long and pale his eyelashes truly were. Carefully, he combed the black-inked brush over the eyelashes, mentally patting himself on the back for accomplishing such.
When the mascara was applied, Neku went about adding a small amount of gold eye shadow over the Composer's eyes, followed by pink lip gloss to his lips, and a bit of blush. He figured that Joshua didn't need any eye-liner…and he doubted he had the ability to apply such without making him look like a cross-dressing raccoon.
"Done!" Neku stated quickly as he stepped back, suddenly glad to have his personal space back.
Joshua nodded and glanced over his shoulder in the mirror. He giggled fondly to himself and then looked back to Neku. "Thank you, Neku"
"Y-you're welcome," the red-head grumbled and turned his back, opening the bathroom door. "I'll…see you at school, I guess."
Joshua ignored the second statement. "Do I make a pretty girl?"
"…Was that a serious question?" Neku complained, lingering in the threshold.
"Hm…I'll just ask a few boys at school, then," the silveret laughed and hopped off the counter. Truth be told, he did pull off the role of a girl quite well. His face was slim enough and the ruffle tanktop did a marvelous job at hiding the fact he was, indeed, a male.
"Goodbye, Joshua," Neku stated and left the bathroom quickly, headed downstairs to get his things and hurry to school, his frustrations having completely gone over the edge.
"Hm…" Joshua tapped his sandal aimlessly against the tiled-floor, peering at himself in the mirror. His violet eyes appeared distant for a moment before he reached out and touched the mirror, almost not recognizing the reflection. His lips fell into a rare frown as he stood there, the skirt feeling far more uncomfortable than he had originally let on.
"Sanae…what have you got me into?"