For Angel: my beta, my first TWEWY friend, the awesomeness of Joshyme and Neshiki, Shiki fan, and an amazing author.
And a happy birthday too.
She glared at it with a mixture of fierce determination and fear, wishing it would just go away. Back off. Or something to that extent. With a flick of her wrist, Shiki Misaki sent the black cat, Mr. Mew, flying at it - however, it just dodged to the side, unhindered, and continued its slow, meandering scuttle-pause, skitter-pause advance towards her.
Shiki's eyes widened slightly and took a step back, determination starting to flee and terror replacing it. Mr. Mew lay lifeless on the hard ground, no aura of green light surrounding him. Shiki bit her lip, backing up further as the thing continued. Looking around wildly - she needed - something! To - to keep it away from her! On the other end, Neku's voice was concerned.
"Is something wrong?"
The fifteen year old took a breath, trying not to panic. If she stayed calm, she could probably escape, flee, and explain to Neku later. Hyperventilating, screaming, or jumping away in panic would only cause to worry him and probably send it darting towards her. The frantic galloping of her heart was starting to slow down some - it had stayed there, not moving, for a while now. Perhaps if she moved slowly she could get out without attracting its attention.
She shifted her foot, and it suddenly darted towards her, rushing, the claws making a ticking sound against the floor in Shiki's mind. She shrieked and threw herself backwards, only to collide with the wall there. She squeaked in panic and leapt up onto the nearest higher ground - which happened to be a bed - dropping her cell phone in the process.
Close to tears and jumping up and down on the soft, springy twin bed, she screamed for her dad to come and crush the brown spider tiptoeing up the wall.
Hello. I am an Angel, Shiki Misaki.
It was just another one of those Hachiko meets - really nothing particularly special anymore. It didn't matter that they went to different schools, or that they were not the type of people that would usually hang out together - a fashionable seamstress, a muscular skateboarder, a young blond tomboy, a prissy rich kid, and an emo, carrot-topped boy with a collar fit for a watermelon.
However...Shiki mused. No one can tear us apart anymore. Everyone's got something about them that's the same, from the Game.
Now that I think about it, playing the Game was... worth the friendships that I got in return. And I don't want any of those to end. She thought stubbornly, watching with slight pride and warmth as her friends laughed and joked with each other.
Which was why she tried so hard not to fall in love with him.
It would make everything so awkward if we broke up or something - there would be no more of this... comfortableness around... She chastised herself every time she caught herself staring a few seconds too long at his sapphire eyes. And what's with comparing boy's eyes to gems, anyway?
"Wha - wha - ?"
Neku had come over to her house to help her with a science project - basically colouring Eri-drawn letters while Shiki typed the rest up.
"Kay! I think we're basically done. Do you need any more of my help?" Eri asked, standing up and looking at the blue poster.
"No - I think we're good. Thanks, Eri!"
"Alright! Bye, then."
A few more seconds working in silence, other than the whirr of the computer and the tap-tap-tap of Shiki's fingers on the keyboard.
A few minutes later, they were done with the glue, the pencil crayons, and the blue, blue poster. Shiki told Neku to close his eyes and count to three.
Cautiously, Neku obliged, inserting a "Mississippi" in between numbers. Freed from his headphones, he heard the sound of rummaging coming from the closet.
When he opened his eyes, Shiki was brandishing a stuffed animal - a frog.
"Shiki?" He stared at it. "A black and blue frog? Rea - "
The 'frog' came flying at him, bonking him on the head before Shiki picked it up and brushed it off.
"He's a wolf!" She scoffed. "And he's yours, anyway, so..." She brushed her brown black hair back from her face.
Neku took the plush wolf from her hands and held it up to the light for inspection.
"...Lemme guess." He pretended to concentrate deeply, taking the Scanning position. "Hm... Mr. Howl the wolf?" Another bonk on the head, and he grinned.
"Wolfie! His name is Wolfie!"
"...the wolf." He took it from Shiki's outstretched hands and patted its velvet fur. "Wolfie the wolf."
We believe you are prime material for an Angel.
"What do you think?" She asked, showing him her latest outfit she'd sewn.
"The... the... Oh, god. It reminds me of Lapin Angelique." Neku put a hand over his eyes, grimacing.
Shiki bristled. "And what's wrong with that? It's supposed to be inspired by Lapin Angelique..." She said doubtfully.
Memories of Joshua carrying a parasol and wearing a ribbon laced dress similar to the one Shiki was displaying infiltrated his mind, making him shiver.
"...It looks great, Shiki. On you. Keep it away from Joshua. I'm begging you."
"Wha - I don't understand. Why?"
"...and that would make this all crumpled up, so..." Shiki looked at Neku, who was standing behind her while she ranted on about the quality of fabric. "What do you think?"
"I think you should do whatever you think will be best." He shrugged. "You're the expert."
Then he grinned at her, and Shiki had to smile back. This side of Neku - open, nice, friendly, even - was somehow only available to her. The Hachiko group Neku, though talkative enough, was nowhere near this grinning Neku with sparkling blue eyes. She knew why - Joshua. Moment he starts acting all nice, Joshua gets on his case. Sometimes I wish that guy would just leave us alone so Rhyme knows Neku isn't so steely all the time...
Shiki sighed a little, roughly sketched something on the creamy white paper, and started to measure.
Neku sat down on the bed behind her, leaning back against the headboard. Shiki had no idea what he was thinking about when he just sat there, eyes half closed - or if he was thinking at all. Rolling her eyes slightly, she pushed her dark brown hair behind her ear and picked up the scissors.
Snip snip snip.
Surely you must know.
The strange part was that it actually sounded surprised.
From behind half closed eyelids, Neku watched Shiki when she worked. When he had homework, he would sit and slowly fill in the answers, twirling his pencil, while she sewed the next costume for the school play. Sometimes the quiet scritch scratch of the pencil and sipp of the thread would alternate with the quick thuds of the sewing machine, or thuds and sniping at the same time when she made the edges of the fabric. He had no idea what it was - just that it prevented them from fraying. She deftly moved the needle up and down, flashing in the light like a crystal caught in the sun. She did have talent in sewing - he watched her work many times, and she could make an outfit in two days or less, if she wanted. The clothes she made - Neku straightened his sweater - were comfortable and as good as, if not better than, store bought designer brands.
He stared at the wolf he brought every day to Shiki's house. Over a year's time, Wolfie - he smiled a bit - had accumulated a top hat, a black cape, and tie, as well as several outfits that Neku felt cruel to dress an animal with.
"Neku - you want to come take a look? I'm almost done." Shiki said, words slightly distorted because of the pins she was holding in her mouth.
That had always scared him. Sometimes she would even temporarily bite a needle.
"Uh, sure." Getting up, he sauntered to where she stood beside her desk, leaning over her shoulder at the gorgeous pearl dress.
"It's for Juliet." Juliet and Romeo - of course. I'd forgotten.
"I never would have guessed, what with all the ribbons and lace." He gestured at the lace collar, the wide, sweeping skirt, and the pearl white sleeves.
Shiki's face was worried - and Neku sighed in exasperation, knowing what was to come. "Oh. Did I overdo it? Did I? It wouldn't take much time to make a new one because if this one is way too fancy for Juliet then - "
"What are you talking about?" No time at all? You spent a month on this dress! "It's incredible, Shiki."
She watched his face for a moment, looking at if he was lying or not. It is a bit over. I knew I shouldn't have added the golden lace on the edges of the -
Neku had taken the opportunity to press his lips to hers for merely a second, yet it was enough to tell Shiki what she had wanted to know.
"I still don't understand."
The black cat lay on the bed, last to be packed up by the brown haired teen - or perhaps not so much a teen anymore.
Shiki had almost cried when she had been accepted into one of the best designing schools in Japan - however, it was miles upon miles away from Shibuya. She'd taken it as the end of her relationship with Neku - after all, one thing she'd learned from everyone around her was that long distance relationships didn't last. And if the two did manage to get through, they would have changed into different people, know different people - still effectively ending the relationship.
Your Imagination, while small, does not mean that your Soul is not bright.
"What the hell do you mean, I'm going to have a roommate?" Shiki asked, fighting the fierce hope inside of her. I'm moving away to northern Japan and Neku is staying in Shibuya to learn with Mr.H.
Neku leaned back, looking upwards and slightly embarrassed. "Uh, well... What I mean is that I... I applied for the school near there, didn't get accepted, applied for another one near there, got accepted."
"Mmmhmm." Shiki glared at him, holding the plushie limply by her side.
"When I say 'near there', I mean near your university."
A pause, as Shiki's mind rendered this information, part of her desperately wanting to believe it, but the other - the pessimistic, unconfident, logical Shiki took over.
"Neku." Shiki was almost panicking, but trying to sound calm. "You got into the top university in Shibuya. You can't come." He'll blame me for ruining his life - ruining his chance for a great education - to get someone better - to keep working with Mr. H - to - to... It won't work! He'll hate me!
"Shiki. I can almost hear what you're thinking." Neku grinned. "If you make me stay here, I'll go insane and kill myself, whereupon Joshua would snatch me up to be the next Composer while he has a tea party with Angels."
There was a long silence as Shiki stared at Neku, and Neku gazed steadily back, unrelenting.
She exhaled, and her eyes focused again. "Oh my god. I'm going to have a roommate." Her voice rose louder with every word, and she sighed in happiness, hugging Mr. Mew to her chest and placing a kiss its now grey-black head with happiness.
Neku knew better, but he still felt jealous of that cat sometimes.
What does that mean for me?"
A pretty, black haired female stopped in the middle of the scramble, shifting her bag and frowning slightly.
There was Neku again, with Rhyme.
Recently, Neku had almost tried to avoid her. He wanted to shop alone, wanted to talk to Beat and Rhyme alone, maybe just Rhyme alone. It was like the two were never apart anymore. He was always looking for a chance to talk to Rhyme, and often trying to do it without Shiki noticing.
And it hurt like hell.
The pessimistic Shiki - the logical, unconfident one - was talking more and more these days.
We are constantly looking for new Angels, since so many of us are dying out.
"Er... heh heh. Yeah. Just... stuff." Neku said, brushing past Shiki, on his way to the door. Heaven forbid she enter my room. Angel, Composer, and almighty god forbid she try to repair Wolfie. His thoughts squirmed again at what was hidden inside the poor Wolf's top hat.
Silence as Neku shrugged on his coat, and hurried out.
He wanted to talk to Rhyme again - had to had to. Was this the absolutely – how could she be so sure of – but – and this is why it's good she's so patient.
Shiki stayed inside, turning the locked doorknob aimlessly, over and over again.
"Uh... Dying out? Angels can die?"
Neku had taken her out to that fancy French restaurant again. He'd tried to have a conversation with her, but Shiki didn't know how to reply to anything he asked. What if it was just to cover up... him and Rhyme?
Oh, c'mon. Don't be so horrible. He'd never do that.
Logical Shiki replied with hoards of mental images of Neku and Rhyme, talking more than usual, laughing, smiling, that little glint in Rhyme's eyes, the ever-so-slight touch of panic in Neku's eyes when he saw Shiki... Her hand curled into a fist, effectively squashing the napkin with Bon Appetit on it into a small ball.
I'd wish he'd... just tell me the truth.
After all, I'd rather be friends than keep doubting him like this. Honestly.
Angels can, indeed, die. There was an unfortunate war that was never supposed to happen, and the Gods stepped in too late. We require three more Angels. One of them is you.
Before you ask, no, the other two are not your friends.
Neku sprinted along the asphalt, the sharp corners of the box digging into his hand from the way he was clenching it so tightly, anxiety pouring through him. Rhyme had assured him that she would agree, that nothing would go wrong.
From the hill, he caught sight of the blond haired teen, holding a camcorder and hidden securely behind the green bush across from Cat Street.
Shiki was in Mr. H's cafe right now, talking to him with a slight crease between her eyebrows. Neku stopped and grinned as she picked up her bag and came out, waving goodbye to Sanae.
Neku stood up, and heard a faint 'beepbeeb' as the camcorder started recording.
His heart was pounding, and he felt nervous, yet desperately excited at the same time.
Shiki came up to him, and looked at him as if she wanted to say something. He stopped her short by placing a finger on her lips to tell her to be quiet, kneeled down, and asked her to marry him.
Shiki Misaki - would you like to join us?
Shiki barely heard him - the Angels were drowning everything out. They kept asking, oh, god, her head hurt like it had been stuck by an anvil as in the cartoons. Her pupils dilated, and all she saw was white - that blinding white that caused headaches and tears and permanent blindness if you stared at it too long.
Will you join us, on a higher plane of existence?
"Hell no!" She cried out, holding her head. "Leave me alone!"
Neku stood up sharply, stepping back a bit. Rhyme had assured him it was a 'yes'. Not a explosive 'no'.
Shiki. We are asking you to join us.
"I said no already!"
Neku's eyes flickered to Rhyme, and she slowly lowered the camera, looking stricken.
There was an awkward silence.
"...okay. Sorry. Uh, bye?" Neku said, feeling rather uncomfortable and not at all pleased by the strange looks from passers-by. He turned around, biting his tongue, pocketing the diamond ring and resolving to throw it into the ocean.
This is your last chance - you have the power to change everything.
"No, no, no, no!"
There was a silence, and the white seemed to brighten even more, making her nearly start crying – finally, the light began to gray, until it faded back into colour.
Shiki collapsed on the concrete, rubbing her eyes. What just happened? Did I miss something?
Then she saw the orange blob of Neku moving away - "Neku!"
He stopped, but didn't turn around. When he did, five seconds later, she saw that he'd hidden his face under his bangs again.
"What is it? I thought you wanted me to leave you alone." He said, spitting out the words.
Shiki blinked furiously. "Huh?"
"I asked... uh... and you yelled at me to leave you alone." Neku said, crossing his arms, closing his eyes to bite back the tears that threatened to escape.
"...asked. Asked what?"
"He asked you to marry him! That was horrible of you!" From behind her, Rhyme appeared, camcorder dangling by her side, a furious look on his face. "After all that time picking out a ring that he'd think you like, waiting months trying to get the courage to ask, you shoot him down like that?"
Neku had never seen Rhyme so irritated - angry.
"He... he what?"
No one spoke, though the sound of the crowd's chatter seemed much too loud.
Shiki closed her eyes, feeling nauseous. Oh my god. She leaned against the wall of the cafe for support.
Deep breath, Shiki. Deep breath.
"Well see here I was being attacked by vicious Angels making me see white and they would not leave me alone and kept trying to get me to join their cult. So there and yeah and yes I would like to marry you and please do not send me to a mental hospital I swear I am not lying they were really trying to get me to join them and I am sorry for thinking that you and Rhyme were going out behind my back."
Then she burst into tears on the sidewalk.
Just a note here: Happy tears.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY ANGEL! She is officially 15 as of January 13th~!
Everyone wish her a happy belated birthday! Weeeeee~!
*headdesk* This is SO late... but better late than never, I guess.
My first Neshiki! How d'ya like it? I'll find out through a review, I suppose? *hint hint*
Edit: For some reason all the page breakers were taken out, which made the story UBER CONFUSING to read, as you can well imagine. So I put'em back in (a different one, as the squigglyline-asterisks don't work anymore). The I O I is in honor of Angel's past username, Inspiration of Imagination. And a pretty page break. As well, I clarified some of the more confusing elements of the story and edited some minor things - I was in such a rush to update this the first time that I didn't properly scan it through and had lots of weird stuff like "I'd would".