This story happens some time after a certain skateboard Reaper decides to fight Joshua and Neku during Joshua's chapter. If you aren't finished with Day 2 Beat's chapter, I might spoil something.

In-game. A Squirrel Noise takes on vending machines and the big, bad J in order to find Beat before the end of the day. Features Joshua, Neku, and...?

Welcome Black

Near the statue of Hachiko, Joshua with ease pounded the Noise with bicycles, vending machines, and boom boxes--whatever came to his mind. Sipping his coffee, Joshua remained content and uncaring, even as Neku faced a mass of spawning, transparent jellies, dying to get up close and in person with him. Neku was quite the celebrity after scorching a whole family of elite jellies with his trademark pillars of flames.

A small jelly escaped and called up its extended family. Now they wanted to extend a rather shocking welcome to him. It was only polite to shake tentacles with them.

"How many times I told you to never let a small fry escape?" Joshua sighed, running a hand through his hair. Sadly, he had finished his coffee already.

Neku let out a muffled cry, something to the effect of "You told me nothing, jerk face!"

From the corner of his eye, Joshua spotted a small, almost sickly Noise scurry near him. Without much thought, he dialed away and attacked in order to pass the much needed puck back to Neku again.

In desperation, the pink Squirrel Noise with a razor-like tail and intricate wings launched at him.

He stepped back once. The vending machine, aimed at the Noise, almost landed on top of him with a bang. He breathed out a note of annoyance. The Noise sat safely on top of his head. Her tail waved in his face.

"Get off me," he said venomously.

Joshua whacked the Noise but ended up hitting his own head. The Noise rested on his chest and whined at him.

"Get. Off."

He angrily brushed the Noise off, but the Squirrel Noise easily hopped onto his leg. He tried shaking his leg, only to find the Noise attached to his back. He growled. Every time he almost touched the Noise, she nimbly escaped and relocated on another part of his body. The wise Noise never left, knowing full well if she did another vending machine might squash her instead.

At last, his hand clamped over the Squirrel Noise, rested on his shoulder blade. That Noise shrieked. Tiny claws sunk into his skin. Sharp teeth breached his neck.

"You...!"

He ripped the Noise off him and glared at the annoying critter, accusingly. When the Noise's black, beady eyes looked into his, Joshua's cold eyes softened. As if by reflex, his death grip on her loosened when the little tears splashed onto his hand.

"...Tch," he said.

"Joshua."

The Noise slipped from his grip and hid. Joshua touched the mark on his tender neck absently as Neku approached him. Joshua was silent, deep in his thoughts. He hardly registered any of Neku's complaints.

At the end, he said, "Buy me food. I'm hungry."

Neku regarded him with suspicion.

"Why? You pregnant?"

Joshua appeared unfazed. That Squirrel Noise really picked the worst place to huddle up and shiver like the world was ending. As he sat down on a green bench by a flickering lamppost, Joshua patted the nice lump hiding under his sweater. The Noise was on top of his stomach.

"You left little old me here for hours," Joshua complained, faking a tired smile.

Neku gave him the cold shoulder. "Long enough that I didn't disturb your passionate moment with another Player."

He smirked. "You sound disappointed. Are you jealous that I'm taken?"

Neku snorted. "As if."

Neku wasn't the only one blushing furiously. Too bad he did not have the cool advantage of being pink as a certain, poor, poor, very poor Squirrel Noise did.

"So tell me. Is it a he or she?"

Apparently, Neku refused to stop prying.

"Definitely a she."

"You sound confident," Neku said.

The Noise's claws scratched him again and started moving. This time, Joshua rested his hand over the lump and practically held her in place.

"The father is Black and Blue. The mother is Gold. The child is Pink," Joshua said, not missing a heartbeat.

Neku glared at him. "No, you're Pink."

The comment hardly marked him. In fact, Joshua looked pleased.

"Well said, Black and Blue. In that case, I demote you to Blue," Joshua told Neku seriously. Then, he looked down at the lump. "Welcome to the family, Black."

Neku looked appalled. He exclaimed. "Since when I'm that thing's father?"

It was Neku's fault for starting this game. Joshua had several, several years of experience ahead of him to practice... and win.

"Now, now." Joshua hushed. "Don't hurt Black's feelings."

"Cut the crap."

"Tell Minamimoto that."

A tiny part of Black's tail showed, and Neku easily caught sight of it and reached.

He only brushed Black's tail, and poor Black panicked and screeched. She blindly ran all over Joshua's chest and back in circles, until she escaped from his clothes and scurried away into the night. Whether out of fear or her own shyness, she refused to let Neku see her adorable face.

"...You can't tell me that a Chili Dog just flew away." Neku furrowed his brows.

"I told you so." Joshua crossed his arms and pouted. "You hurt Black's feelings."

Neku glowered and hung his head in defeat. After all his hard work, he still failed to discover anything. His pursuit to unveil Pink's secrets led to a well-deserved dead end.

"You hurt Black's feelings," Joshua repeated. "You better apologize."

"Apologize my ass," Neku replied bitterly.

Joshua pretended to blush. "Oh, I see. So Neku is jealous and wants to have a natural kid with me. I'm flattered. Really."

"Shut up!" Neku exclaimed. "I'll get your darn food already!"

With a murderous look, he stormed into the first food place nearby as Joshua bathed in his victory.

xxx

After returning with a Sunshine take-out bag, Neku went straight to sleep like all the other Players did. He sat beside Joshua on the bench. His head was tossed back, his mouth open like a Venus fly trap. He was snoring. For the Players, the Game's day finally concluded.

It was nighttime, but Shibuya didn't sleep.

Joshua remained quite awake, humming contently. He plucked out a fry from the box and nibbled on it.

"Black," he said sternly.

The faint rustling in a bush behind him stilled. Joshua chuckled.

"Now, now. Let's talk civilly. You're waiting for your ride, and it wounds me to leave a guest unattended."

After taking out another large fry, Joshua found the pink Squirrel Noise at his feet. Her head was bowed down a little in reverence.

Joshua was glowing with mischief. Taking that fry, he whacked the Noise a few times on her pretty, little head.

"Bang, bang."

If this Noise had been Neku, he would have growled, showed his teeth, and snapped at him. Other Noise he might scare away; instead, this Noise mustered her most adorable smile as if regarding him some sort of friend.

"...Silly. Trusting a bully like me."

With a smirk, he leaned over and offered his hand. Without hesitation, she stepped into it. He put her up on his shoulder, and she perched there obediently. She was careful not to scratch him with her tiny claws.

He patted her head once. Joshua felt generous. "...You should eat too, Black."

After unwrapping his hamburger and taking a few bites, he noticed Black move from her perch to his chest. She reached over and stole a tiny, tiny portion of the bread part of his hamburger. She returned to her perch on his shoulder and ate that.

Joshua frowned with great disapproval.

"You're too polite. I gave you permission, didn't I?" he said.

Black lowered her head again, this time in apology.

Joshua figured only a pure, innocent Soul like her would ever refuse to feed off other people's negativity. Would go as far as to starve and pretend that eating a meager bread crumb could whet her appetite. She was like a delicate plant that refused to take root for fear of choking out fellow plants. She was like a shy blossom refusing the sunlight.

"You certainly didn't hold back biting me the last time." He huffed.

She again apologized.

"Now, Black. If you don't feed, you'll make Blue unhappy and Yellow super sad."

And Pink very angry. Joshua even went as far as to offer the Noise to leech his powers. Still, she remained, sad and conflicted on his shoulder even as her insides screamed at her from hunger.

Such a rare Soul really did not belong in the Noise ranks. Or the UG to begin with.

Joshua felt moody. "If you were sitting here beside me with this burger and I was starving to death, what would you do then?"

Her assertive reply came out like a whine, and he chuckled.

"See? It's all right then."

If he had given that scenario to Neku, he definitely would have offered a much different, much colder reply. Like saying that he wanted to abandon Joshua all his life. That he did not care for Joshua's existence.

Especially once he found out who Joshua was at the end.

After a long moment of silence, he practically felt her warm breath against his skin. Joshua closed his eyes. Her fangs pierced his skin, the same place on his neck. He shuddered a bit as he sensed bits of his power slip from him. In the back of his mind, he still had difficulties believing he persuaded a Noise to feed on him.

But maybe he did this to preserve one of the last shining Souls that Shibuya had...

By the time Joshua finished the last bite of his burger, she too had finished.

"...That was quick," he said.

She had drank if only a dainty sip. But in this case, a little went a long way--especially since it was him she preyed on. She brushed a paw against his cheek, regarding him some kind of savior. Like a donor giving his blood. Like he was giving life.

In some roundabout sense, Black was quite right...

And wrong at the same time.

Joshua grumbled. "Don't get too comfortable, Black."

She let out a faint giggle.

He ran a hand through his hair and frowned, somewhat annoyed. Joshua took a quick glance at Neku, who still remained sleeping upright with his head thrown back. His mouth was wide open. His fingers clutched onto the end of Joshua's sweater. Joshua's lips curved into an amused smile.

"Hee hee. Look who has a crush on me."

On Joshua's shoulder, Raimu walked in circles a few times before nestling against the crook of his neck.

That windy night as she waited for her guardian, she not only watched the city with Joshua.

Raimu watched over him.

-END-

Hope you liked it. Feel free to comment.