Shiro, Kuro

~ 30 Forbidden, Joshua x Rhyme ~

Disclaimer: I own nothing

A/N: Those of you that go to Livejournal and don't see this there, I'm still waiting for my claim to be approved. Enjoy!

Theme 18: Escape

WildKat was quiet, a welcome relief from the world of Players, Noise, and Reapers outside. It was because of this that Yoshiya Kiryu, Composer of Shibuya, known as Joshua, came here when the pressures of keeping the Shibuya UG intact became too much. Now that Shibuya had finally been completely fixed from all the alterations made by Kitaniji, a Game was starting up again. It was the third day, and while he was tempted to see how his new Conductor and his Game Master were doing, he decided not to. Even someone with his power needed a break once in a while. After all, when it came to that, he was only a 16-year-old boy.

He let his eyes wander to the girl sitting at the table in front of him. She was beautiful, and would probably be even more so if she didn't cover herself up in those oversized clothes that made her look like a boy and if she grew her hair out a bit. Raimu Bito, known as Rhyme, perhaps the only person in Neku's little group that actually interested him, aside from Neku himself, of course. He was almost surprised after meeting her to learn that she was Beat's younger sister. He had never met two people less alike. While Rhyme had been allowed to skip a grade and was only in the year below them despite being 14, he doubted Beat would even finish high school, let alone with their class. Rhyme actually looked attractive, while her brother bore a striking resemblance to a gorilla…and he was probably as smart as one too. It was hard to believe that they came from the same species, let alone family.

She looked up from her homework, noticing that he was staring. He looked away, wondering what she would do if he moved a table over and came to sit next to her. He stopped himself before he could continue that thought. Why would he bother? He was the Composer, and there was nothing he could gain out of interacting with her. He looked away and back at his cup of coffee, taking a sip as Rhyme went back to her work.

"Are you okay over there by yourself?" she asked, smiling at him.

Joshua looked up. For a moment, he was thrown off, but he didn't let the moment last, a small smirk coming onto his face. "Why wouldn't I be?" he asked, his tone smug and slightly amused.

"No reason," said Rhyme, "Just that you look lonely over there, that's all. You can come sit here, if you like."

Joshua watched her for a moment, a small frown on his face. Sit with her? Why would he want to do that? Still, she had invited, so he stood up, taking his cup with him and sitting across from her. As he moved closer, he noticed that her hair was a little longer than before, reaching below her ears now. Perhaps he was wrong. Maybe she was growing out her hair. She was also working on math homework apparently. He glanced at it as he sat down, a little surprised. Her handwriting was neat, and her calculations looked mostly correct. Mostly.

"Take another look at number 3," he said.

Rhyme looked up at him, then glanced back down at the page. Her eyes widened as she picked up her eraser and began rubbing out the lines, then began writing again. He moved over by one chair so that he was sitting beside her (just to make sure she was answering it correctly, he told himself). She was, so he turned his attention to his coffee, wondering exactly how long it took Mr. Hanekoma to go on an errand. He doubted that he was out painting a mural again. It wasn't dark yet, although it would be soon, and it wouldn't be good if someone ended up seeing CAT's face.

"Do you go to school, Joshua?" asked Rhyme.

Joshua frowned. It wasn't often that someone asked about his life in the RG, even though it wasn't exactly a secret that he lived in both worlds. His identity as the Composer was always more interesting than his identity as the 16-year-old rich pretty boy. Yet, in the 20 minutes that he had been sitting in the same room as Rhyme, she had not mentioned the Game. Not once. He found that he actually didn't mind it so much. It was slightly refreshing.

"Mm," he said, "But not in the public school that you all attend."

"Oh," said Rhyme, smiling as she looked up from her homework once again, "So you go to the private school? I've heard that it's a really good school."

"One of the best in the country," said Joshua, smirking, "I would attend the best one, but I can't leave Shibuya for too long."

"Lucky," said Rhyme, her smile never fading as she looked back at her homework.

Joshua took another sip of coffee, watching her. Lucky? To be the Composer, or to attend that school? He didn't think he had ever thought of either of those as lucky. Rhyme…however…Rhyme was wasted where she was. He found his expression softening a little as he watched her. For one moment, he found himself thinking that she deserved better than what she had—an education that was completely average at best and clothes that were probably hand-me-downs from her brother. Now that he thought of it, he had never seen her order anything, no matter how many times Neku and his friends visited WildKat.

"Number 7," he said suddenly, standing up and leaning over as he picked up her pencil and scribbled down the right equation on a piece of scrap paper. "Do it like this."

He was hovering just an inch above her now and he stopped himself from moving closer. From where he was, he could smell the scent of her hair. She didn't wear perfume, he realized, but at the very least, she kept herself clean. It was refreshing, almost, from the high-end world that he was used to. He pulled away and dropped back to his seat, suddenly aware that his cheeks were lightly tinted with pink. If he had stayed, he had a feeling that there would be no going back. She was silent as well, frozen in place with wide blue eyes that reminded him of a deer caught in the headlights. He wondered if he should scan her to find out what she was thinking, but he decided against it.

"So, what are you doing here alone?" he asked, trying to restore some normalcy to the situation. He was the Composer. He was Yoshiya Kiryu. He couldn't possibly be falling for some girl who was practically picked off the streets. "Where are your friends?"

"I'm meeting up with them later," said Rhyme, snapping out of it and smiling at him. She finished off the last problem on her homework sheet, then put her pencil down. "Sometimes, it's nice to escape once in a while."


Joshua smirked, running his hands through his white hair and leaning back in his seat. He took another sip of coffee. In a way, they were both there for the same reason. They both needed escape from their daily lives, and they just happened to find it at the same place…at the same table.


He watched her again, more intently this time, and Rhyme's face turned pink as she dropped her gaze.

"Hmm…" he said.

Perhaps he would be "escaping" more often, then.