I do not own The World Ends With You/It's a Wonderful World.
He had gone out to get groceries. She had come over to hang out, but, finding nothing edible in the fridge, he decided to go, heaven forbid, grocery shopping.
She had insisted on staying behind. After all, she would only be a distraction, and she would be much more useful helping out around the house while he was gone. She tried as hard as she could to stop herself, knowing that they'd be out way past dinnertime if she went along. Maybe she would happen to come across clothing that needed to be mended or something.
He never really cared about stuff like that, so there was always plenty for her to do.
A slight urge bubbled up inside her. His room was right down that hall, probably full of holey clothes. No, there was enough she could do here. There was no need to go into his room. She didn't really know if he'd care or not, but it wasn't appropriate. Plus, if she went in there, she'd probably never come out for dinner, and Lord help her if she got caught.
So, setting Mr. Mew down on a kitchen chair, she took a hand-towel and wiped down the counters and the table, washed the dirty dishes and somehow managed to find their spots in the cabinets, picked up and folded a few articles of clothing, after inspecting them for holes and tears, and she even organized things a little. That was when she noticed something strange.
Come to think of it, there was something that seemed like it was missing earlier that day when she saw him. He had left his headphones on the lamp table, along with his music player.
Slowly, she picked them up as if she was holding a living baby bird made of glass. Her eyes lingered on them silently. Why would he leave them behind?
Neku wasn't the kind to just forget about something like that, something that he just naturally carried everywhere. Inspecting them, she frowned, her eyebrows knit together curiously. Man, these things were a little worse for wear. Adjusting the glasses on her nose, she brushed the strands of dark hair behind her ears and thumbed the headphones' foamy inside a few times.
It had been about three years now. They had all gone back to relatively normal lives, that is, if anyone was to call Neku normal. He did smile a little more often though. She and Neku had made it a habit to hang out at least once a week. She suspected he only put up with her antics in order to watch over her, but she didn't really mind.
She noticed he didn't turn on his headphones as often anymore, but he always kept them with him. Which is what made this situation very peculiar. Why didn't he take them this time? Especially to do errands alone. Come to think of it, he probably didn't want to carry them around if he wasn't going to use them that much. And he would only be gone a few minutes. Why bother?
Yeah, that sounded like him.
Even so, staring at them for long periods of time gave her a funny feeling, an aching of what mysteries were contained within those pieces of plastic and foam. It had been about fifteen minutes, he would be at the market right now, but it would take him another ten minutes to get home, she was sure. Maybe it wouldn't hurt if she just took a quick listen.
She glanced around one last time before slowly securing the headphones on her ears.
She suddenly wondered. What had he been listening to?
The thought had never come to her mind before. What kind of music does Neku listen to? She had a few guesses; she even thought he might not listen to any music at all. Maybe he just put on those headphones and pretended to listen to something to keep people from talking to him. Still, he had to have that music player attached to the headphones for a reason. He had to have something on it.
Her breath hitched in her throat. She glanced around nervously before taking a deep breath and pressing the on button to the music player. What she was greeted with was one of the last things she expected.
An orchestral piece.
Of all things she could have been greeted with, she was greeted with a harmony of a violin and a piano, or something of the sort. It was beautiful, she had to admit. Very beautiful.
But of all things, why would Neku listen to something like this? According to the player, this was what he had last been listening to, so why on Earth would he…
The music in her ears rose triumphantly and meandered into an intense yet peaceful bridge.
This didn't really seem like something he would listen to. At all.
Suddenly afraid she had stumbled on something she shouldn't have seen, her head darted around nervously. She could hear her heart pounding wildly in her chest. She would be in so much trouble.
Yet, she couldn't force herself to put it down. She wanted to know.
A powerful backing of strings joined the fray as the music escalated in a soft requiem.
Her ears were addicted. She felt as though she physically couldn't pull the headphones from her head even if she tried. There was something so strange about it, as if there was something unique, something irreplaceable in the music she was listening to. Out of everything she could have imagined, this was one of the last things that came to mind.
Suddenly ecstatic and more than a little curious, she turned the music player over and over in her hands, her fingers tracing its fabric casing carefully.
What song was she listening to? Taking a deep breath and a slight gulp, her eyes found the screen of the player. All thought processes stopped and everything was silent.
She could no longer absorb what she was staring at. Finally, a huge surge of guilt burst through her veins. She knew that listening to his music was a bad idea. What would she do? How did this happen? What did it mean? Did he really—? Well, what he did in the game—his entry fee…so could he—?
Shiki's mind began to race, no single thought staying long enough for her to focus on it. She began to pace, having not the slightest idea of what she should do. Her feet began to shake and stumble, and all at once the door opened, and she jumped, an unmistakable gasp of terror spewing from her throat.
Neku stared at her from the doorway, his wide and rather surprised eyes suggesting he had no idea what had caused the commotion. Shiki stood there, his violet headphones secured on her head and the face of a child who had just been caught after painting the cat green smothering her features.
Neku's expression relaxed into his typical apathetic frown as he gazed intently at the music player in her hand then up at her frozen face.
Without a word, he turned and walked out the door, causing Shiki's blood to nearly burst as she began to panic. It was hardly a moment before he walked back in with the groceries, walking past her to set them on the counter as he walked back to his room.
Shiki slowly slumped to the couch, unsure of what to do anymore. She let the headphones drop from her ears and into her lap before absently setting them on the table beside the couch. Her head fell to her hands and her mind swam with indistinguishable anxiety. It was probably better if she left now.
His voice jolted her and her eyes found him walking towards her from the end of the hallway with a worn apron hanging around his neck. He stopped.
With a light toss, the black velvet box made a soft arc through the air towards her. Instinctively she made to catch it before making eye contact with him again. He didn't look at her, and a slight quirk tugged at one side of his mouth. Using both hands, he began to tie the apron around his abdomen as he made his way fully into the kitchen.
"Geez, sure took you long enough."
Hope it didn't confuse anyone. Lord bless. Praying for you all.