Chapter 7: ABC's
Warnings: Language, and nonsensical and random going-ons. Messy, with a chance of OOC-ing.
Word Count: 2,300 -ish?
Summary: Nonsensical, and random going-ons - all under themes that begin with a letter from the alphabet.
Author's note: Does anyone notice that I don't put disclaimers...? The World Ends With You is NOT mine, although I do enjoy imagining them in different situations. Hence, there are words written.
"Y-you tricked me!"
"We did what you wanted to do, so now we do what I want to do."
"I'm not here for this!"
"But you promised - you're not going to go back on your word, are you, Neku?"
"I don't think that name would apply to me better than it does you."
He never missed how his eyes always landed on the pastries in the window on Spain Hill, and the small change in his face as they left the district. It got to the point that he almost wanted to strongly suggest to his partner that they go in - only to be faced with the strange fact that the store didn't have a sigil.
So, after he left the game, one of the first things he did as a living man was buy the most delicious looking pastry and leave it at the closed-off end of the Station Underpass.
He never imagined mind-fucking him could be such - such - such cakewalk.
"...this place is a lot more damp than I thought."
"It's a freaking sewer, Pink."
"That's not what I meant, dear."
He never knew how evil people around him were before he discovered the Underground. Then he decided that something had to be changed - and found a lovely opponent and a proxy to help him with it.
"I'm telling you, I saw them! Frogs that were red and were jumping around, and kangaroos, and bears, and - "
"You're such a liar, Joshua!"
"I'm not lying! I swear, I saw them!"
"That's it! I know I promised your parents I'd take care of you before they died, Joshua, but this is insane! I will not tolerate any more of this nonsense!"
"But - "
"No buts, Joshua!"
"Hello? Is anyone here?"
"Oh, a customer. Run along, Joshua. Think carefully about what you've done."
He watched the owner of the pastry shop on Spain Hill attend to her business - but he didn't stay for long. Within seconds, a ten year old Joshua pulled on a light jacket and left to wander the streets, finding more comfort with the strangely colored animals than he would find with auntie and uncle. He knew they thought he was a freak, yet at the same time, he knew that only freaks would understand other freaks - he just had to find someone who understood him. Then they would be the normal ones, and everyone else would be the freaks.
And then he found Sanae.
It was the weirdest thing - gravity, that is. There's the gravity that pulls everything - people, objects, and sometimes even ideas - to the core, the center of the Earth.
And then there was the gravity between objects, between people. Which was what Joshua had whispered to him before - well, things - happened.
He's been through the Reaper's Game - not once, not twice, but three freaking times. He's spent an entire week with a roller coaster known as Shiki, an entire week with the mind-wreaking Joshua, and entire week with a desperate Beat. He literally died and was reborn - much to the shock of his parents and authorities - but was lucky enough to escape media notice.
Yet even through all of that, he's sure of one thing - there has never been a hell worse than being stuck in a corner with Joshua, his girlfriend, his friends, and all his relatives and having to admit that he wasn't straight.
"I'm sick, Neku. I thought you were faster than this, Neku."
"Were you really looking for a proper answer for that?"
"And when I'm sick, I only drink pumpkin soup."
"...but you don't like pumpkin soup!"
"Oh, and while we're there, we'll be able to talk to Hanekoma, won't we?"
"That's a trick!"
"Regardless, you wouldn't want to run a chance of me slowing us down, do we, Neku?"
"Now, shall we get going then?"
At times, the Dead God's Pad felt like a jail. It was so isolated from everything else, doors hidden, and so on and so forth. But to some, the place was so familiar to them - even if they hadn't wanted it to be.
That's why Joshua couldn't help but sniff in disgust when he saw how the alternate dimension had treated his ho - this place. If he had his way, this place would be so much drier, at least.
When he found that it was in fact Joshua who killed him, his first thought wasn't the expected "I knew it!" or "I should have known."
To Joshua's surprise, Neku's second thought (his first was the expected "What?") was, "I hope I was the only one Joshua fucked over."
"Do you believe in love, Neku?"
"Because I don't. What people call love is merely two people having fun taking and being taken advantage of."
"Well I - "
"And then they expect the other to remain faithful to their games and to stay beside them forever - what proof is there that they will? They can just up and leave - and you'd be left standing there, wondering what happened to you."
"And then you have people doing stupid things under the name of 'love'. People forsaking families, their jobs, their livelihoods for this imperceptible, untouchable concept."
"And what's so great about love anyways? Why would anyone want to entrust their person and entire selves to someone el-"
"...we're here. Wildkat."
"Lovely. Wait here, I'll be just a moment."
"Hm? Something on your mind, Neku?"
"...I believe in love."
"I agree with you. Love is a scary thing - we risk a lot for it, and we can't even see or feel the results of such sacrifice. But Josh...without love - be it for a friend, family, or a lover - wouldn't life be boring?"
"I'VE GOT YOU!"
"Not a chance!"
"Hah! Take that!"
"There's no WAY you can beat me with that!"
"W-w-what was that?"
"HA HA HA! TAKE THAT, BRO!"
"No waaaay! How could I lose...!"
"Neku-neku, do you need to take a break?"
"HAH! AND THAT'S WHAT YOU GET FOR CHALLENGING ME, SHUTO DAN, THE MASTER OF TIN PIN SLAMMER!"
It was amazing how, by the end of the day, Neku was still annoyed at how he wagged his finger at him and called him 'naughty'. Seriously, it was only a jab at his jab at 777's outfit, and how there was seriously too many holes in it.
So, um. Call me stupid or obsessive or something, but it's the thirteenth time I've brought you some food, so that means it's been three months since I've seen or last heard of you. How've you been?
This time I got you some custard buns. From that place on Spain Hill? You might not have noticed me, uh, noticing you, and uh, well, um, here. I don't really know why you do, but I guess it has something to do with the fact that the store doesn't have a sigil? But you're the composer, so I guess you can go in any time you'd like, but anyways. That's that.
Shiki, Beat, and Rhyme tried to set me up with this girl in class today - her name's Hakagawa Yai, and she's nice. Pretty, even. I took her to see that new movie that came out, y'know, Up? It was a good movie. The music was pretty good too. Michael Giacchino's pretty good, but somehow I still think John Williams is better. But yeah. Nothing really happened after that, so I think it blew over.
Hakai-sensei is still pretty strict, and she's getting smarter. She caught me sleeping in class the other day, but I swear my book was still up. I think Shiki told her to make fun of me. I ended up with detention, but during that she left and didn't come back! I stayed for the rest of it just in case, and I ended up doodling some pictures. I think they're pretty realistic of some random frog and pig Noise. Remember how annoying those damn things were? At least the other Noise were better exercise.
I, um, listen. You know you're free to join us at any time. We always meet at Hachiko, and even though we might meet up at random times during the week, we always go out on Sundays, so.
Anyways, I'll...just leave this here. I hope you enjoy it...later."
Sometimes, trying to make heads or tails from anything that Joshua says is pointless. So most times he just tunes him out.
It's said that when someone dies (figuratively, of course) and is reborn, they have reached quintessence - a fifth element on top of the four, composed of heavenly bodies or whatnot.
Well, Neku had died and was reborn - both figuratively and physically - but he sure didn't feel much of a difference, or as heavenly as he thought he'd feel. Sure, he has friends now, an sees the world in a much, better light - but he feels like he's missing something too. It irritates him that he doesn't quite know what.
For some reason, every Saturday, WildKat would close at four and re-open at five. During closing time, the owner would be seen happily munching on a piece of pastry from Spain Hill on a plate, with an extra fork to the side that was never used.
Every Saturday at four, a box will appear on the counter beside the door.
Customers would never notice the box (such negligent creatures), but the owner, surrounded by what some might consider the "strange" everyday, wasn't startled. The residue presence on the box told him everything.
At first, the owner would put it in the fridge and keep it. After three days, he'd throw it out. Eventually, though, it became apparent to the owner that the person who kept leaving the box will never be back to eat it. So, to not let the pastry go to waste, he'd close shop so he could eat it with the patience and love that the pastry (and the person who bought said pastry) deserved. With an extra fork out to share with the person, just in case.
When he started to do that, the air around him felt like it began to shimmer. And then the owner knew. The presence couldn't eat it, per say, but the message behind the pastry was sent regardless.
"Neku, do something!"
"Shut up, I'm thinking!"
"Well, think harder!"
"This is ridiculous - follow my lead!"
"You don't get a choice!"
"I never thought that Pegasa would be so much better than Mus Rattus! Neku, we're switching brands."
"Isn't that not being brand-loyal?"
What was he doing here? Why wasn't he at home, wasting the day away like he did with so many other days, or illegally downloading music off the internet? How could he still hear so many thoughts? Why?
Why was Shiki used as his payment? She had nothing to do with this! She deserved to be home with that piggy of hers, sewing, fulfilling her dream...this was all his fault! He just risked Shiki, and now -
"What are you doing, partner?"
"Oh man, you're not going to just sit around, are you? I thought you were experienced. Aren't we supposed to do something other than just sit around with vacant faces?"
"Come on, we have a mission to do."
"...don't drag me down."
"Wouldn't dare, Neku."
"I bet you'd lose against Shuto in Tin Pin Slammer."
"Why are we doing this?"
"If you win, I'll volunteer to do all the wall-tasks that has to do with clothing."
"But if you lose, you have to do me one favor."
"What kind of favor?"
"It's a secret - but I promise you won't regret doing it."
X: Xenophobia (the fear of foreigners or anything strange)
"Y-you're bisexual?" Silence rang throughout the room. "Neku! How could you? A-and here I th-thought...I thought you were normal!"
Damn Joshua to the deepest pits of hell for making him admit that he was bisexual to his slightly xenophobic gir- well. Ex-girlfriend, now.
It's been years since he's been in that bakery on Spain Hill. After he forced himself into the Reaper's Game and became the composer, the place became something almost sacred. So he refused to allow anyone from the games in to that place, his childhood home. It was too close to home for him, and for years, the shop was left alone by the Underground world. Including himself.
And then Neku came along, and he was reminded how great the place smelled, how delicious the pastries looked...
...and how warm his auntie's arms were after his parents' funerals.
...Maybe one day he will drop in for a visit. With a friend.
The world had tens of thousands of millions of their own views - and it conflicted with each other every day over almost anything. It never left anyone alone; it dragged whoever whether they liked it or not down. It was overbearing, it was suffocating, it was oppressive.
Staying away from anyone or anything else was the best policy, and that was how Neku almost religiously lived. He avoided crowds, classmates, school clubs, and was even withdrawn from his parents. He lived only in music - or at least, he lived in his outside-sound-proof headphones.
Well, there is nothing poetic in death. If one were to tell Neku that he would have friends after death, he wouldn't do anything - because one wouldn't be able to even talk to him. But as strange as it is, that's just what happened. Things changed.
I suppose that's just how life works.
Author's Note: It's been a while - so sorry if anything is off! *nervous laugh*