Disclaimer: Don't own it.
Joh: I blame Jessie for this. She revived my obsession for this game and so planted this plot seed in my head.
Jessie: Y-you're blaming me???
Joh: Yes. Yes, I am.
Jessie: …..No you aren't.
Joh: Oh... D:
Summary: After three years Neku's memories of the Game are faded and distant, buried deep within his dreams. But this all changes when Neku runs into someone determined to get him to remember, someone who seems strangely familiar.
Notes: This is post game. Neku, Beat, and Shiki have all just graduated from high school. Rhyme is still in high school. Poor girl.
Warnings: Yaoi, language, spoilers
"Your elbow is poking my ribs."
A murmured apology was uttered soon followed by the creak of old furniture.
Neku shifted his legs slightly and curled his toes, wishing he could shake his right leg as it had just fallen asleep. The old, red couch was narrow and probably wasn't meant to hold two people, but they managed to both squeeze into it regardless. Neku pressed his face into one of the pillows, inhaling deeply. It smelled like coffee.
A sigh. "Your shoulders are sharp."
Neku rolled his eyes. "Deal with it. If it bothers you so much then go lie down on the other couch. Weirdo." He added on, purposely prodding his shoulder into his partner's.
The other boy giggled and slung an arm around Neku's waist. "But this is good quality time we're spending together."
Neku would have normally slapped the other boy's arm away and shoved him off the couch, but he was comfortable. So he didn't. "You're an asshole, you know that?"
"Mm, so I've been told."
There was a short silence before Neku spoke up again, starting to feel restless. "Has the mission come yet?"
"No. Just relax, Neku."
"But-" The teen was silenced abruptly when a kiss was pressed to his lips.
"Relax." The other boy repeated in a softer tone. Neku stared at him before he nodded and looked away, thinking about how violet the boy's eyes were. He had never seen anyone with eyes like that before. Such a vibrant color, Neku thought to himself before he closed his eyes and drifted off to sleep.
3 years later
Sometimes, Neku would dream strange things that seemed too real to be made up but then too strange to be real. And these dreams didn't play out like most, typical, dreams did. They were more like a scattered collection of movie clips, all strung together out of order and fuzzy. Sometimes he would dream of odd creatures that hid in the cracks of Shibuya and were invisible to the normal eye. Other times he would dream of people with long, arching wings that curved into sharp, black lines. Once he dreamed of a voice, but he wasn't able to see the owner's face.
But in the end they were just dreams. Easily forgotten, easily put out of mind.
Especially since Neku had more important things to worry about. Like preparing to move to the States for college at the end of the summer. That left nearly no room for worrying about anything else.
"Dude, why do you only have two bags out?" Neku's best friend stood in the doorway, lugging in a small TV. He tugged a hand through his short, blonde hair and grinned, cocking his head.
Neku glanced up from the bed he was sprawled across, fanning himself with a poorly constructed paper fan. Two duffel bags lay open in the center of the bedroom, clothes thrown in along with a few stacks of CDs and books. Neku rolled onto his back and cast the fan aside to wipe the sweat from his brow. "Cuz that's all I need." Neku replied with a shrug and hung his head upside down over the side of the bed so that his long bangs fell away from his face towards the floor.
"You're gonna be gone for a whole year, man. A whole year, yo. You need to pack more than this." The blond insisted as he strolled into the room, carefully maneuvering around the piles of magazines, to set up the TV in the corner.
"Chill, Beat. It's fine." He watched silently as Beat began untangling the wire for the television. "Where did you get that thing and why are you bringing it into my room?"
"This?" he thumped a hand against the black box proudly. "I got it from Shiki. It's my goodbye present to you. Too bad you'll only have this summer to enjoy it, man. Unless you take it with you."
"Like I'm dragging that to the airport." Neku grumbled and sat up, watching with vague amusement as Beat finally managed to get the TV on but found that the picture was horribly fuzzy. "I think I know why Shiki gave it away."
Beat twisted his head around as he fidgeted with the antennas. "Dude, just you watch. I'm gonna have this thing in top shape."
Neku shrugged his shoulders and slid off the bed, casting a look around the messy room for his shoes. He glanced under the bed and yanked out a worn pair of blue sandals, slipping them on as he made his way across the room to the door.
"You goin' out?" Beat asked, not looking up as he rattled the small TV.
"Yeah. It's too stuffy in here." Neku said casually, feeling his pocket to make sure he had his keys and wallet. "You should've gotten a fan from Shiki, not a TV."
Beat cast him a sour look. "Like anyone's willing to give away fans for free during the summer." He rolled his eyes and yanked on the heavy chain around his neck. "You could always go out and buy one." Beat suggested as he stood up and glared at the blurry white lines across the television screen.
"Maybe." Neku shrugged and pulled his headphones, which had been hanging around his neck, back over his ears as he headed out the door.
Even though Neku had lived in Shibuya for the whole eighteen years of his life, he could never say that he ever found it boring. Sometimes he thought Shibuya was stifling and too noisy, but never boring. The trends were constantly changing and the crowds were always thick with people dressed in different, colorful styles. Things were always shifting and moving, nothing ever remained the same for long.
Neku walked slowly through the streets, casting long glances up at the towering buildings and billboards filling the sky. Neku sighed and looked into the passing shop windows, his blurry reflection staring back at him. He would miss these buildings, these shops and restaurants. But most of all, he would miss…
Neku turned a corner and slowed his pace, withdrawing one hand from his pocket to pull his headphones back from his ears. The Udagawa back streets were a little quieter than the main streets and much less crowded (that was probably why it was Neku's favorite spot in Shibuya). The distant sound of music pumped from one of the stores filled the air with a steady rhythm and thrum, accompanying the clatter of wheels from the kids pulling tricks on their skateboards down the concrete steps. He moved slowly forward, walking past the skaters (reminded strongly of the times when Beat was younger and was hardly ever seen without his skateboard) and tilted his head back as he approached the colorful mural that lit up the back street. Yes, this was what he would miss the most.
Neku stopped once he was within arms reach of the wall and reached out to lightly drag his fingertips down the graffiti. Hopefully, someday Neku would be able to create art that spoke like this, art like CAT's.
Neku suddenly frowned and cocked his head as he let his arm fall back to his side. A slender teenage boy was standing several feet from him, watching him through narrowed, dark eyes. Neku blinked as he looked the stranger up and down, wondering how he could possibly stand wearing black dress pants on such a hot day. The teen brushed back a lock of silver blonde hair and took a small step forward, a tiny smirk forming across his lips.
Confused, Neku took a step back and looked over his shoulder, wondering if the guy was greeting someone standing behind him. But no, there was no one there, only himself. "Um… can I help you?" Neku asked slowly, beginning to feel a little unnerved by the strange teen's expression.
The stranger dragged his eyes slowly up Neku's frame, eyes narrowing in amusement when the redhead took another wary step back. "You've grown," he observed.
Neku's frown deepened as he once again glanced around the street. The group of skaters had taken a break and were sitting on the steps with their boards lying by their feet, the street seeming suddenly silent without their noise, despite the continued beat of music in the background. Neku reluctantly glanced back at the stranger and tugged nervously on his headphones. Although Neku had become a lot more comfortable with people over the years he still got very awkward with strangers, especially weirdos. "I think… you've mistaken me for someone else." Neku said after a moment, fingering his cell phone in his pocket.
The teenager's smile grew. "Neku Sakuraba, right?"
"How do you-"
The silver-haired teen cut him off with an impatient wave of his hand. "Joshua. Call me Joshua."
Neku scowled at having been interrupted, already starting to dislike the guy. "Do I know you?" he asked, not bothering to hide the annoyance in his tone.
Joshua blinked then laughed, a clear and surprisingly pleasant sound. "I guess some things won't ever change." He murmured fondly once his giggling had subsided. "We met briefly awhile ago at the Ramen Don. We ordered the same thing, remember?" He explained smoothly as he brushed his wavy hair out of his eyes.
Neku scratched his head and struggled to recall that, frowning down at his feet. "When did that happen?" he asked skeptically, looking back up into Joshua's violet eyes. They were an interesting color… almost-
"It was a long time ago. You probably don't remember." Joshua sighed and shrugged, lifting his hands into the air.
"I don't." Neku agreed flatly, shifting his weight from one foot to the other. From the corner of his eye he could see the skaters getting back up and wiping the sweat and dirt from their brows as they hopped onto their boards again.
Joshua smiled, not bothered by Neku's cold expression. He reached out to lightly touch Neku's arm, making the redhead tense up. "We should catch up sometime, Neku." He murmured before stepping back and slipping his hands into his pockets. With another strange smile, he turned and walked away, the skateboarding teenagers stopping in their tracks and clearing quickly out of his way.
Neku stared at the spot Joshua had occupied, the place where he had been touched on his arm tingling. He reached up to slap his hand over the burning spot, smothering away the strange sensation.
Neku's second favorite spot in Shibuya would have to be the Wildkat café. It was a small, usually empty place that always smelled like coffee and cinnamon. Although Neku enjoyed the coffee that wasn't the main reason why the café was his second choice spot. It was the store owner, Mr. Hanekoma, that made it special for Neku. The older man would often talk to him since Neku was usually the only customer in the store and he always had some kind of advice to give him.
And Neku was really in need of some advice at the moment.
He rubbed at the spot on his arm absent-mindedly and leaned back in his seat, inhaling the rich smell of coffee around him as he struggled to think of a way to ask Hanekoma for counsel on his problem.
'Hey Mr. H, there's this weird guy who seems to know me and insists we met but I don't remember at all and I think he's a stalker… and I felt weird when he touched my arm…what should I do?' Neku rolled his eyes and shook his head. No, that wouldn't do. "Makes me sound gay." He grumbled under his breath, staring up at the ceiling and watching the fan overhead spin in slow, lazy circles.
The redhead jumped and looked up, nearly upsetting his cup of coffee in the process. "Shiki? Rhyme?" he exclaimed, blinking several times. He hadn't even noticed them entering the café. "What are you doing here?"
Shiki held up the small plate of pancakes she was carrying. "I heard from a friend this place was good." She grinned and pulled a seat out from the table to sit down.
Neku raised an eyebrow. "Pancakes? In the afternoon?" he asked as Rhyme took a seat on his other side.
"What can we say? We had a sudden craving for pancakes." Rhyme smiled her usual soft smile, brushing back a lock of blonde hair. She fiddled with the bell pendent around her neck as she cast a quick glance around the café. "This is a nice place."
Shiki nodded and picked up her fork to start on her pancakes. "I never took you as a coffee person." She hummed, nodding towards his mug. "Most people don't drink hot things during the summer."
"And most people don't eat pancakes at one in the afternoon." Neku countered before lifting his mug and draining it in one sip. "I wasn't here to drink coffee though." He shook his head and raked his fingers through his spiky hair before he stood up.
"Eh? You're leaving?" Shiki frowned, disappointment entering her dark eyes.
"Yeah, I got stuff to do. Tell Mr. H I say hi." He said distractedly, a sigh breezing past his lips as he turned and left the small cafe.
Once he left Shiki turned to Rhyme, brows furrowed together. "You think he's okay? He seemed spaced out."
"He's probably just nervous about leaving for college." Rhyme said after a moment, tapping a finger against her lips as she nodded. "Leaving Shibuya is probably a big change for him."
"Yeah…I can't believe I'm going to be leaving this place soon too…" Shiki trailed off, playing with the hem of her skirt. "I'll miss him."
Rhyme sighed. "I think we all will."
"Neku, dude, the TV is working! I told you I could do it!" Beat laughed and grabbed Neku once he walked through the door and ruffled his hair, knocking the headphones to the floor. "I freakin' did it!"
Neku stumbled and shut the front door with his foot before he batted his friend's hands away. "You're seriously still here?"
"Of course!" Beat pulled back and thumped his fist against his chest. "I swore to myself that I wouldn't leave until I got the TV working." He nodded seriously before adding on in a whisper, "And your mom made a whole batch of curry…"
"You're hoping you can stay for dinner." Neku sighed, kicking his shoes off and brushing past Beat into the living room. He pulled his keys from his pocket and tossed them on the coffee table before stretching his arms over his head and yawning.
"Hey man, your mom makes the best curry." Beat said defensively, following Neku into the hall and up the stairs.
"Not really. Is she still here?"
"Naw, she went out an hour ago."
Neku nodded in response and pushed open the door to his bedroom, mildly surprised to see that Beat had been telling the truth when he said he had fixed the TV. It was sitting in the corner with a clear enough picture (it was still a bit fuzzy but at least you could make out the faces) and was currently playing a commercial advertising Natural Puppy's new sale.
"It still sucks." Neku commented, wandering across the small room to his bed. Before he flopped down on the mattress he glanced out his window, a small frown appearing when he noticed a flash of silver. The boy from before was standing out on the street, hands curled in his pockets and head tilted back to stare up at Neku's house. Their eyes locked suddenly, thoughtful violet meeting shocked blue. The fine hairs on the nape of Neku's neck prickled as he watched Joshua smile up at him. He waved at Neku, fingers curling in the air before he turned suddenly and walked away, disappearing into the crowds.
"Whatcha looking at?" Beat asked, peering over Neku's shoulder curiously.
Neku squinted as he struggled to find the silver-haired teen amid the mass of people. "Nothing. It's nothing."
Joh: Ooh, I wonder where this is going.
Jessie: Does that mean you've actually thought out a plot beforehand?
Joh: Eh, somewhat.