Um. Well. It seemed like the thing to do at the time. Look, it's not like there are many other people writing for this fandom, okay? (Seriously, I love the World Ends With You, why don't more people love it, too?)
Warnings: Spoilers (albeit vague ones) for the ending. Not Secret Reports, though, because I'm not done with those.
Pairings: light, probably imagined Neku/Joshua, Shiki/Eri Rating: None. Seriously, not even for language.
Notes: Essentially, my personal canon for what totally happened post-game. Plus, bonus Music of Shibuya drabble. :D
It had been a while since they had seen Joshua. Neku had gone away to college, and Joshua hadn't been able to leave Shibuya.
Joshua, thankfully, didn't seem to mind, just like he never seemed to mind anything else. Neku had gotten slightly more adept than even Shiki or Rhyme at reading people, though, especially Shibuya's Composer. He could see that Joshua was relieved, had harbored fear that they could have died somewhere that didn't belong to him, had feared that any one of them, especially Neku, could have found a better place to die.
"So, are you going to finally tell me what you've been studying all these years?" Joshua asked in his usual playful tone.
Neku grinned. "I had planned to go for psychology or something like that, you know, broadening my horizons, but I had a roommate with some kind of music fetish and I learned how to write music. Turns out I have a knack for composing and conducting." He pulled a piece of paper out of nowhere. It was a mess of lines and notes, but Joshua could read it as if he were hearing it. The title was hastily crammed into one corner in Neku's messy handwriting. It read The Shibuya River.
"No one else will get the title, but I thought you might like the original copy," he babbled.
Joshua smiled. "It's very nice." He paused. "So, how are you at conducting?"
Neku's face dropped. "You haven't found a replacement for Lollipop, have you?"
Joshua smirked back. "Now what might make you say that? Anyway, you could visit the RG regularly, just look at Def Märch. Clearly, even the RG wants you to conduct."
"The RG wants me to compose," Neku corrected.
"Ah, well, we can't all be perfect interpreters of what the RG wants, can we?"
Eri had been picked up right out of high school. D+B wanted her to design for them. She had looked at Shiki uncertainly and insisted that she be brought along, or Eri wasn't going. The scout had shrugged and said it was Eri's call, they'd find another designer willing to work for them in no time.
In a few years Black Cat had joined the trend list, and kept pushing for the top.
Neku had become something resembling their top model. Every time he saw Shiki or Eri with a needle he died a little more inside.
Joshua refused to be caught on camera (not that that stopped Eri or Shiki) and would not allow his picture to be published (and that was where things got interesting, because entire rough drafts of magazines had a tendency to get lost or stolen when they had Joshua's picture in them, just moments from being finalized sometimes), but otherwise was a willing model for any experimentation with color or design that might clash with Neku's hair or complexion.
Rhyme got free clothes every time she visited Shiki and Eri at their studio or apartment, and even Beat knew better than to hang around too long if Eri looked like she had an idea.
"Can you hear it?" Joshua asked. He'd asked before, leaving Neku to ponder what he was supposed to hear.
Neku still wore his headphones, but he killed the beat when he was around friends. He could hear an underlying beauty to the diversity of Shibuya now. Beat and Rhyme were at a Def Märch concert and Eri had been stricken with inspiration as soon as Neku had walked into the room (he had fled as soon as he saw the glint in her eye) so it was just him and Joshua for the night.
Neku watched people pushing past each other on the street, listened to their chatter and the machinery and noise of Shibuya all around.
"Yeah," he said at last. "'S a good song."
Joshua smiled. "Thanks."
Shibuya's music wasn't a gentle caress, a calm fluttering melody. It beat and pounded with a complicated and conflicting rhythm. It changed and warped and fluctuated, modulating and breaking and rebuilding every few minutes. Neku wondered just how Shades had put up with it. The style--well, it didn't have a single style. The rhythm--if one could call it that-- the something, the everything was nothing like what he might picture Shades conducting in any kind of actual orchestra.
The music of Shibuya was messier than Def Märch's practices and louder, too. It was obnoxious and an awful cacophony of sound that didn't line up with his first impression of Joshua, either.
Shibuya sang like a classroom of children picking up instruments for the first time. It had no pattern, no order. At best, it was an acquired taste, at worst, a cacophony, a mess, a monstrosity of sound inhuman enough to make one's ears bleed.
Neku loved it.