Title: Any Tree Can Drop an Apple
Fandom: The World Ends With You
Characters: Sho, Neku, Joshua
Summary: Any tree can drop an apple, but Sho might maybe have sort of a little bit dropped his heart. Not really. Fake and lame onesidedSho/Neku.
He first spots the kid when he comes to 104, good little Player running to accomplish the day's mission, to recover what he's lost. Sho isn't interested what. He hasn't lost anything in a long time; the closest thing to regret he feels nowadays is when his piles of mismatched junk (art) collapse because he got sloppy on a mental calculation.
Anyway. Zetta slow runner, this kid. And his partner, too, tow-headed and sly-eyed as he slinks in behind him, too unconcerned to be just another Player. Sho recognizes him for what he is: the Composer, tasting his own creation. His, because even though the Game has existed for longer even than the Angels, every Composer changes it; makes it his own. Sho couldn't care less what the Composer is up to. The heady taste of victory is already thick on his tongue, and he lashes it experimentally at the two, complains about their slowness.
Factoring hectopascal. He's gone and made himself vulnerable, and Sho loves it. Ambition and treachery sharpens his eyes, so he's alert when he sees—him. The kid. Wary blue eyes glare up at him from under violent orange hair. He can't be more than sixteen, maybe fifteen. High school age. He's arrogantly brooding and self-centered as he mistakes Sho's questions to the Composer as being meant for himself. Sho hates him instantly, hackles rising almost imperceptibly at the memories of his own high school experiences rise to the forefront of his mind. He's been Reaper for a long time, dead even longer, but still not long enough to forget instead of suppress. High school. He was the geeky kid who liked math a little too much while wearing clothes a little too black. He had higher numbers on his IQ tests than in his bank account. He was easy prey. They tore at him—until one day, he learned how to tear back.
Some Old Horses Can Always Hear Their Owners Approach, he mouths to himself, and attacks. He strikes with mathematical precision, humming the formulae under his breath as he unleashes his Noise. He is powerful, he is graceful, he is deadly Destroyer, he is Game Master—
—He is defeated. The spiky-headed kid, the snot-nosed hedgehog little brat—he is stronger than Sho could have ever guessed on first sight. He handles psyches like he was born with them clutched in his hands, like he used Stellar Flurry to force himself out of the womb—
Ew. That image kind of grosses him out. But that kid...
The Composer, on the other hand, had been oddly subdued, pulling his weight but no more. Sho had gotten the distinct vibe that the Composer had been waiting; but waiting for what? For the kid to deliver, to impress, to win? Just another Player, how can the infamously careful Composer of Shibuya put his life so carelessly on the line, put his ridiculously elusive trust in just another useless whining teenager with a grudge against the world—
It hits him. One word.
Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally. He sits on top of his latest sculpture, squints a little to make out the orange blob that is the kid's head bobbing up and down amongst the crowd of RG normals. The kid is scowling at the Composer, shoulders tense and arms crossed antagonistically across his chest. Defensive—everything about the kid is. Like an animal backed into a corner. Not like the figures in his memory, all mismanaged aggression and brainless machismo. The kid's anger is more subtle, directed more inwards than outwards as he'd like to think.
It's ironic that Sho can see him better from a distance than he could up close. First, Outer, Inner, Last, he remembers. Perhaps FOIL had its uses outside of his calculations as well as in. He notices now the things he didn't then, the little things: the weird clothes, the defiantly rebellious hair, the loud headphones purple in a tasteless way. It's interesting, the way he spends so much time scanning—not just for the Noise, but for the snatches of thought from passersby who can't see or feel him reaching out, if that's what he's doing.
When the mismatched pair of yoctograms finally straggles into Scramble Crossing, Sho shifts frequencies. The kid kicks idly at the tin cans and banana crates near the base of the mound and wonders where he is. The Composer looks Sho straight in the eye as he answers, mocking as always, "No idea, darling." He smirks as Neku snarls and snaps. The kid's words are cutting enough that they would merit instant erasure coming from anyone else, but right now the Composer just looks amused, maybe even fond. He finds the kid interesting, too.
Scanning, and battling, and finishing missions. He's driven by some unknown purpose that he reminds himself of with every step, every reduction, every glance at his phone. Sho kicks a rusted bicycle off the side of his pedestal of discarded things and waits for the kid to come around again.
Eventually, he'll erase the kid and never give the matter another thought. But for now, he watches and waits.
A/N: First attempt at writing TWEWYfic D: NOTHING WENT RIGHT.