Out later than I'd hoped...but I was concentrating on writing my short story for English as well as other things that were generally more important. I have some more free time now. So, I have no clue what is going to happen in this chapter, since I am still completely improvising. :P Well anyway, here we go.
As soon as we sit down on the wall, Neku arranges his hair to hide his face again. I feel a rather intense urge to tuck it back or something, and my hands itch to do so. It's ridiculous, it's not like I'm his mother or anything. But I like to be able to see his face. He often keeps his face as neutral as he can, but when I can see it, little twitches and movements can give his mood away anyway. At least that way I have some chance of understanding.
"You have to stop blocking me out," I say, trying not to sound as miserable as I feel. "The day you ran off... I thought we were actually getting somewhere then, before you did. Now we're back to square one? What's happening with you?" I place my hand on his shoulder and Neku lets out a little growling noise, or at least I think he does. It was quiet and it might have been my imagination, but I quickly remove my hand from his shoulder anyway just in case.
"That...is what I...want to know," he grits out, and judging from the tone of his voice, that growl definitely was from him. "I don't know what the hell I'm feeling, it's weird and annoying...only...it's not. It'll go away eventually, but you aren't helping much. You seem to make it want to...stay or something." He gives me a sideways look.
I sigh and look down. "You really aren't very good at dealing with your emotions, are you?"
"Who gives a damn? It's not like I need to!" he snaps.
This is so typical. I should have expected this, this will get us nowhere. He'll run off again, I'll go home and wonder, and we'll go round in circles getting precisely nowhere. What more can I do? I'm not so great at dealing with Neku, he's such a mystery. He closes himself off from me and other people deliberately and very, very effectively.
"Eri," he says, and I glance at him in confusion. "Eri. Over there," Neku repeats dully, nodding into the crowd of people going about their business, and I don't spot her at first because there's too many people, until I hear a laugh that is definitely hers, and see her talking on her phone.
"Okay..." I really wanted to talk to him, even in public was fine, and Eri was talking to someone else, but somehow him pointing that out had thrown me a little and I forgot what I was about to say. "Um. Look, I actually kind of want to talk to you here. She's busy anyway."
He stays silent for a few moments before shaking his head and looking away. I frown a little until I realise that he must have meant she'd finished, because I felt an unexpected hand come to rest on my shoulder and jump a little.
"Oh...Eri. Hi," I mumble, taken off-guard. I stand up to return the hug she's giving me.
"Hey!" she smiles, bright and bubbly as ever. "And hey...you. What's your name?" she asks Neku.
He doesn't react for a few moments, but eventually decides to act like a civil human being, muttering "Neku" under his breath, like he's only saying it because he really, really has to.
Eri's smile doesn't falter, in fact it widens, and she actually leans forward and hugs him. I gape and Neku gives her a strange look. He doesn't return the hug, and I didn't expect he would, but Eri doesn't seem to notice and just withdraws and continues to smile.
"Neku... Cute name!" she says afterwards and he looks away.
I wince slightly, remembering saying the same thing to him when I found out his name during the Game. I guess I was acting more like her than I even intended to.
Eri paused. "Look Shiki, we never got to finish off last time because of the changes I'm gonna make to that t-shirt and everything. I'll call you tomorrow or this evening, so we can continue soon, is that okay? It's so annoying leaving a job half-finished, don't you think?" She finishes on a giggle.
I nodded. "Too true! Call whenever you like." I smile slightly. "We'll see what we can do."
"You know it! Well, bye, Shiki. Bye-bye, Neku!"
"Goodbye," I say faintly as he weaved through the crowds, a spring in her step as always. Neku lets out a vague grunting noise and watches her until she's out of sight.
"You know, I don't think I like her much," Neku mutters.
This surprises me. It's Eri. She's fun and bubbly and likeable... How can anyone not like her? This actually hurts a bit; I feel almost personally insulted, like I need to defend her.
"Why not? What's wrong with her?" I try to sound annoyed, but it comes out more meek and timid. Typical.
"Meh." Neku glances away. "I dunno. She's just... somehow... overbearing? Whatever, I don't like her. Just because you do doesn't mean I have to as well."
"Jeez, Neku, do you really like anyone?" I sigh, rolling my eyes.
It was a rhetorical question, but he looks at me closely as I sit back down next to him on the wall and I can just about catch a strange glint in his eye before his hair falls over his face again. "Maybe," I hear coming from behind the barrier of hair and collar he's created for himself.
"Hmm." That's all I say, because it's all I can think of to say. I can't say I'm convinced.
There's more silence. I think he's expecting me to say something. I'm sure not expecting him to. Expecting Neku to say something unprompted is sort of like expecting your pet cat to get up, put a tophat on and start doing a tap dance.
"I'm sick of this," I mutter.
"I'm sick of waiting for you! I'm sick of this, sick of the silence, sick of waiting for you to make up your mind about...about...about whatever this is." I stand up again, feeling my hands trembling slightly, for some reason. "We're getting nowhere, you know..."
Neku stands up alongside me. "I know we're getting nowhere. Where...where is there for us to go?" He pauses. "Did that make sense?"
"In a way," I sigh. "Look...this is it. What do you want to happen? Because I'm not going to wait around anymore. Tell me what you want or let's just give up." And go our own separate ways and never see each other again, because if we're not going anywhere with this it'll be easier on both of us to just cut off contact and forget we ever knew each other.
Neku goes into wall-mode, hair over face, expression blank. "I want...I don't know." There's a moment of silence, before he pushed his hair out of his face and stares at me intently, his piercing blue eyes seeming to stare right into my soul. "I..." He lets out a heavy sigh before leaning forward and placing a feather-light kiss on my cheek, so light I can only just feel it. "I don't have a freaking clue what I want...but I know I want you to be part of my life. In some way. I dunno. You know, whatever."
Ignoring the last, flippant part of that, I smile. "Maybe we're finally getting somewhere..."
"Yeah, well, you know, whatever. Either way."
Without thinking, I lean forward and wrap my arms around his shoulders. I'm not sure whether he stiffens or whether he was always standing this rigid, and I don't really care either.
"I want you to be part of my life too."
"We're in public!" he blurts out, but he puts one arm round behind my back and pulls me just a little bit closer nonetheless.
I peek up at him. His face is red and flushed, his expression one of mild embarrassment mixed with what looks like happiness, though it's hard to tell because I've never really seen Happy Neku for more than a few minutes at a time.
"I don't care if we're in public," I tell him simply.
"You know...if you really want me to be in your life...you're just gonna be stuck with me from here on."
I bite the inside of my cheek to keep from grinning. "Again, I don't care. Ever occur to you that I might want to be stuck with you?"
He snorts out a laugh. "Last chance to back out, y'know."
I feel him heaving a large sigh, ruffling my hair slightly. It tickles but I refuse to move away from him.
"Fine! Fine! You win," he announces, giving me a slight pat on the back before letting his arm flop down to his side. I move away too, feeling that the hug had been going on for entirely too long anyway.
"You're sick of waiting? Well, you don't have to anymore. I don't have a clue what's happening...but...I like it. I think. It's strange but...but it's not unpleasant..."
"As long as it's not..."
"Can I...can I kiss you now?"
"For the love of god, please do."
As I feel his lips awkwardly moving over mine, I realise I have no idea what's happening either, but whatever it is, I love it. And after waiting so long for it, I wouldn't let it slip away without a fight.
Not after I've waited for so long, had to endure him running away, ignoring me, being terminally distant and near-permanently grumpy.
After being confused and unhappy and frustrated for ages up to now, I finally had the chance to be really happy again.
The thought of being stuck with Neku?
Oh my god. O_O It ended. I started writing this, and it ended! I didn't even think this would be the last chapter! Well... eh... I hope this isn't a really crappy ending...
Tell me if it sucks. If it does, I might consider deleting this chapter and writing a new one, or maybe I'd change how it ends, because I don't knooow. D:
Read over only once; sorry for any mistakes.
Well, anyway. Happy holidays!