How Could You, Neku?

Post-game. Joshua and Neku. In this empty nursery, little Joshua waits for Neku to take him home.

Disclaimer: I do not own The World Ends with You.

Prologue:

At Wildkat, Joshua visits to sneak a few sips of coffee. He sees a mug, his light blue mug, waiting there and already brewed for him. When he tastes it, instead of sips, he drinks it entirely.

"Mm. I'm in paradise," he says.

Deep in his mind, he knows Sanae never once brewed his coffee this right.

As Joshua enters the backroom, he sees a puzzle featuring CAT's artwork tacked to the wall. Apparently, Neku finished it during his last visit. Joshua approaches and immediately spots a hole in the puzzle, the almost completed masterpiece.

Joshua smirks. "See? I told you so. You'd never finish."

He withdraws the last piece from his pocket. Joshua thumbs it before setting the piece into its hole, finishing the masterpiece.

xxx

Three years passed since the Game. During the first year, Joshua watched over Neku as he supervised his city, while Neku never saw him; however, he always managed to turn his eyes towards Joshua briefly. Sometimes, Neku's eyes stared directly into his. Other times, he even uttered Joshua's name.

"Do you think you can hide?" Neku once asked him. "I feel you. I know you're here."

"I'm not hiding," Joshua replied truthfully, fully aware that Neku could not hear him.

Due to petty laws that governed the UG, RG, and the Plane, Neku was never supposed to see or meet Joshua again. The laws even kept Neku from receiving any of Joshua's replies.

In the second year, one winter night changed that.

Joshua found Neku sitting with arms around his knees against the CAT mural at Udagawa. He was alone and shaking.

"...I've never seen Neku like this since the day I returned him to the RG," Joshua said.

To Joshua's surprise, Neku actually heard him.

"Shut up! I hate you!"

Neku's fist hit thin air. Joshua never felt the fist connect his cheek, but the burning anger in Neku's sorrowful eyes told him everything.

"I don't mind. I'll stay," Joshua replied calmly. "I'll stay, until someone comes for you."

Neku buried his face in his hands. He never dealt with farewells well, especially if they appeared quite permanent.

Joshua sat beside him against the wall. He sipped his cola once more before setting it down on the concrete.

"...What is that?"

Raising an eyebrow, Neku picked up the cola and frowned, seeing it half empty.

"...I thought you hate this stuff."

Joshua smirked. "You remember?"

While Neku offered a small smile, Joshua offered Neku a promise no mere human can ever give. He patted Neku's head, even though Neku could not feel his touch. At least for now, Neku saw it.

"...If you stay in Shibuya, I'll always be around. To listen."

Like how a Composer never leaves his city, a guardian never leaves his charge.

Neku nodded hard, unable to speak. He put the straw to his mouth and finished the cola for him.

Joshua amplified his Music, enough that he knew Neku felt and heard it. This was the best he could do for Neku to feel his warmth without having the Higher Ups after his hide again.

xxx

Ever since then-- like passing notes during class, Joshua and Neku adopted less discreet methods to communicate without the Plane taking notice.

Back at WildKat, Joshua frowns at an old metal sign from a bus or subway train propped on a table with several chairs around it.

"Please reserve these seats for senior citizens."

Glaring at the sign, he turns away and decides to let Sanae have the honor of seeing it. He is so never going to tell Neku his age.

xxx

The following day, Neku shakes his head, seeing his neat pile of homework turned into a little origami exhibition of boats, cranes, and paper planes.

"Little weirdo does it again."

At least this time, Joshua did not ink bazooka or doodle on every bare corner available on each and every page.

His nerve twitches. Neku crosses his arms and stares, just stares at Joshua's colored drawing that features an old pair of Gatito headphones plugged into a huge and glowing feather. The feather has splotches of red coated on its edges.

"You do realize that looks disturbing, right?"

Before he removes the Shio Ramen from the fridge, Neku's hand brushes against the drawing. A message flashes in Neku's mind, and he drops the bowl of ramen. It shatters on the floor. Its contents spill. For the first time, Joshua failed to steal a bite of his favorite ramen.

The drawing speaks. "This is my last masterpiece."

In a state of shock, Neku's mind races to comprehend the meaning. At first, he laughs hollowly. His heart aches. His body shakes.

"He must be joking. He must be..."

Balling his hands into tight fists, he finds himself running.

xxx

"...Neku?"

Neku sees and pulls up Joshua, lying curled up on the concrete before the CAT mural. He holds Joshua tightly.

"Why?" Neku exclaims, biting back his anger. "Why?"

Neku hears Joshua struggle to speak. Something about Higher Ups making a serious mistake. Put their Timer on the wrong Soul and Sanae always being late.

"Why you... why? You promised you won't leave, idiot. You promised me..."

"It's only...a short...very short leave...of absence," Joshua reassures.

"Jerk! You promised me...You promised you won't leave..." His voice breaks.

He thinks desperately that if he holds onto Joshua that maybe the Higher Ups will not take Joshua from him.

Joshua strokes Neku's arm.

"...I'll return," Joshua explains, "Very...very soon... Until then, support... Shibuya... for me?"

"...Very soon?" he asks hopefully.

"Very soon."

Neku grimaces. Moments later, Neku senses Joshua's powers turn into his. For the first time in awhile, he feels Joshua's sweaty skin and his cold breath. Even without his powers, Joshua possesses the brightest Soul in the city.

xxx

"...Why is it dark?" Joshua asks.

For the first time, it is Joshua who cannot see him.

"...I...I turned off the lights," Neku replies, holding back the quiver in his voice.

Joshua chuckles. His hand reaches out, at first missing Neku completely. After searching and searching, Joshua touches Neku's ear, his cheek, and mouth. He finally finds Neku's nose and taps it.

"...Promise me...promise...you'll pick me up...from the Plane."

"I will," Neku replies vehemently. "I will. But you've to come back."

In Neku's arms, he smiles like a blushing schoolgirl. Looking satisfied, he closes his eyes and moves closer to Neku.

"My Soul...will be the first...you'll handle. The first," Joshua muses and then teases. "...I'm your first. Hee hee..."

He pokes Neku's forehead one last time, before his hand descends.

xxx

With his new powers, once Joshua's powers, Neku easily senses Mr. Hanekoma, arriving. Mr. H sees Neku cradling a little ball of white, very pure light.

"Phones, let go of his Soul. He needs to ascend."

"But Mr. H...!"

"Let go of him!"

Mr. H tries collecting Joshua's Soul from him, but Neku refuses. His newfound Composer powers protect him and the little ball of white from Mr. H.

"Let me hold him."

"Neku. If you don't let go soon, he might..."

"Please! A little longer." Neku's voice cracks. "Just a little..."

In a soft voice, Neku promises with care to the little ball of white, very pure light that tickles his hand.

"I'll be waiting."

He breathes in deeply and opens his hand...

He lets Joshua ascend.

xxx

Thanks for reading! Now did anyone guess that I'm writing a Composer!Neku and Angel!Joshua fanfic? : )