NOM…NOM…NOM

I think I'm obsessed with them. Or just a reason to escape the wrath of homework?

NOM…NOM…NOM

Ch 15: Shut-in

The first thing Joshua saw was that angel, smirking. He tried to move his hand, but he can't. A chain hung beside his arm, rattling when he made even the slightest move. His eyes averted toward the grinned-angel, teeth gritted as he held back his anger.

"Nesda…" he hissed, as if saying that name was too obnoxious. The angel wore a quirky look on his face, "Call me all you want composer, nothing's going to change" a tone less voice. What has happened? Joshua pondered, where the heck is Neku? They'd better not hurt him.

"Looking for your little boy?" Nesda gloated, leaning down to Joshua's eye level. The composer threw his gaze around, avoiding Nesda's face completely. "I hope you could cooperate…" sighing, Nesda pulled himself up, "…after all, it's your fault" he cocked his head to the side

"….J?" Joshua turned around, the chain jingled in front of him, limiting his stretch when his feet shuffled toward the voice. "Sanae?" he squinted at the pain his chain gladly provided for the sudden pull. Sanae chuckled darkly. He has to see his composer in this condition? Nearly powerless, less smug.

"Hanekoma…I see…" Sanae darted his sight, clucked his tongue to see Nesda. The angel gave him a look, clapped his hand a few times. Two angels came inside, with them was…

"No…you…" the chains rattled, "…you evil…"

Nesda smirked, "Composer, I am not evil…I am an angel…" he playfully ruffled his hostage hair. Joshua shivered, he can't have Nesda lay a hand to Neku, no he can't! Chains went wild, his wrist definitely hurting him, he cringed. A laugh got out from Nesda, his hand stopped ruffling and was placed under his chin, rubbing it in a manner Joshua hates.

"First of all…don't hate me for this…" Nesda pulled Sanae, hands covered the dark-haired man's face. Between the gaps of the fingers Sanae flashed a hopeless grin. He slumped backward, followed by the composer lunged forward and being jerked behind by other angel.

"Sanae!" Joshua couldn't put it exactly if he was roaring furiously or squealing painfully. His wrist were badly marked from the iron grip, a rough push sent him forward to meet the ground. Nesda held the composer's chin up to face him, "What did…you do…" a demanded spat came from the composer. The angel huffed, surprisingly enough to admit, as much as he hates flaw, he's not a psychopath who would stop at nothing to strive for perfection. Sides, all he did were a simple law of cause and effect. This composer and Hanekoma made the causes, he provided them with the effect.

"A mere punishment…for an angel who broke our ethic codes…" Nesda let go of the chin, pulling his hand back inside his sleeves, "…that's all that I did…"

"Sanae didn't do a single sin!" Joshua snarled, his throat sore, and even got a little croaky. Knowing the next thing coming would be a disgrace to his small pride, he turned away, "…I…I d-did it..not him" holding the water purging from his eyes, he pushed himself up and sat, breathing in and out.

Nesda grabbed his hostage, decreasing his roughness a bit as he guided the fumbling boy toward Joshua, letting the shivering boy to snuggle closer to the pale composer. Joshua quickly examined him, trying his best not to hurt him with the chains in process. Smiling in relief, he patted the boy's back, comforting him up.

"I maybe eager, but I'm not a psycho…" Nesda patted Neku's head gently. Awkward grew as his fingers slid through the soft orange hair. For a moment his rage faltered, to really touch a mortal, a human, instead of sets of souls and spirits. There's a first time for everything, but his mind quickly defied the feeling. It's not necessary for a perfect angel to think about human…

"Nesda!"

Every head turned to the voice. Two pairs of wings folded hurriedly, footsteps shuffled, belonging to a gray clad angel who wryly smile at the sight. Fheite eyes quickly darted to Joshua and…an unknown boy.

"Fheite, my good friend…" Nesda fought back a relieved tone, "…I'm glad you make it here in one piece"

The East head angel grunted, throwing a concerned glare toward Joshua. Swiping his locks aside, Fheite started, "Stop the chit chat, Nes…" he scowled, "…release the- oh, for the sake of…What have you done?" his hand covered his mouth in utter shock. He leapt nearer to Nesda and slowly crouched, "Sanae!" he wiggled the dark-haired man, "…Sanae!" he repeated hoarsely.

"Relax, I only cropped his memory…" as if answering his question, Nesda confessed, "He might be out for a while"

"You did what?" cut Fheite, still wiggling the unmoving body. A hiss escaped his mouth as he held back a growl of protest and stood back to his feet. "You know a word called, 'reason', do you?" stated Fheite, his lips tightened, shaking a bit as he waited for the answer.

Simple nod was the reply from Nesda. He flopped down the throne, flicking his finger. A book hovered above his eye level. He tugged the book to his lap, opening it, gently caressing its page like it was his child or something. Well, he did adore rules…Fheite frowned but it's becoming more and more to fanatics than simple adoration. Like a human-teen swooning over their idols…

"…by any chance an angel broke the code of the balance between RG, UG, and the angel planes…" Nesda spelt, "…either it's revealing their identity, or faking his report…". Nesda took a breath, he flipped the page slowly afraid of ripping the weary page apart, "His punishments are either erased memories or death…thus decided by the angel who found out about his crimes…"

The words took time to sink in and silence decided to shroud the room. Neku looked up to Joshua, his eyes blinked a few times before finally broke the silence

"Who are you?"

If anyone ever had experienced a slow-motioned time, Joshua should have known better. Has he had the options, he preferred to stay out of it. Lucky him, he get to be the victim of those effects. Today. In this very room.

Neku pulled away, staring at Joshua judgingly, as if to decide if he's a monster going to harm him or just a plain adult. Still frozen, Joshua stared back, his mind went blank. Like a complete darkness with the three words glowing in the middle, digging their way inside of him. Who dots are dots you question mark.

Who are you?

You find this stranger in front of you and he or she or whoever said "Who are you?" that's normal. Then you find your friend for a few years already in front of you and he or she said, "Who are you?" that's back to square one.

Back to when he's a total stranger to this secluded boy. Back to when he 'stalked' him all the way to checked him. Back to when he find the interesting song this boy has to offer. Back to…the first time he became the composer in such age that would make other composer head-butted to any noise they met. Back to the beginning of everything.

"Neku…?" he managed to call. Neku dragged himself further from Joshua, eyes flashed in fear. He was afraid of the weird adult. The composer was back to his frozen state upon finding the frightened look.

"Shut-in vibes…" a voice snapped him back to sense. A man in white walked in, his white hair tied into a ponytail bounced a bit as he halted his move. The South and East head angel stunned, eyes widened in surprise, but both groggily bowed down. Nesda was the first one dared to open his mouth, "Y..your Highness, what brings you to this humble…headquarter?"

"South, East, I already know what exactly has happened" the man motioned his hand toward Nesda, "…and I understand it perfectly…" he made his way toward Neku, sat beside the boy who in return glared another judging eye to the man. "Neku, was it?" he smiled warmly which was answered with a nod, "…come here, I meant no harm…" Neku hesitantly sat closer to the man, choosing to trust him.

"Lord Whyttier…that's a…"

"Human…? That I already know, Nesda…" cut Whyttier, "…perhaps what you don't know is the case this youngling suffered from…" he patted the boy's head.

"W-what case?" stuttered Nesda, he has left his throne, now coming closer to the lead angel. Fheite stood on his place, chewing his lips nervously. "…Shut-in vibes…only human could've got that…" Whyttier tapped Neku's shoulder. Neku tilted his head, questioning himself whether he really has such sickness or ever heard of that.

"As an angel, you must have known that our level of vibes is much higher than those of humans?" asked Whyttier, "…we could even 'imprint' humans with our vibes only not even counting our imagination. Our beings are you could say 'very infectious' for human to face head on…"

Everyone nodded in unison, even the angels who just there for watching duty and Neku who didn't understand a thing

"This kid here has a tremendous amount of imaginations and surprisingly UG-level vibe…which as you probably know a highly unlikely condition for a human…and thus make him an attractive prey for a noise to posses. At the same time, he could also be 'infectious' to the UG-commoners, making him able to affect those who also have UG-vibe either in the UG or even RG…" at this speech, Joshua glanced at Neku then himself. Neku 'affected' his vibes?

"Either way, we also could affect his vibes, causing it to fight back to protect itself…but…" he took a deep breath, everyone shivered a bit, "…his vibes can't win…eventually, something bad has impacted it before he came here…leading it to seal itself, limiting itself to human's level vibe, bringing down with it everything the boy had to do with UG or angels…thus cutting him from all the power I have mentioned before…"

Whyttier cleared his throat, "…We are the cause of his case…" his teeth gritted, making a noise in which made Neku startled in fright, "…we just dumped one of the brightest soul…how did you like that, South?" Nesda made a grumbling sound. He never thought the kid was something like…that? An angel material just like the…dar-young composer over there.

"I've heard of the cell phone case, Nesda, please, call Altrus to my chamber after this…" the white-haired man ordered, "As for Sanae…I can't blame anyone for this…but he stays with you, Joshua, is that clear?" Joshua nodded. Poor Sanae won't remember a thing about Neku when he woke up.

"What about the composer punishment…your highness?" Nesda insisted. He was this close of punishing the smug composer. "You're still thinking about that after what you've done to a child!" snarled Fheite. Nesda walked closer, "I deserved my right to punish him!" he shouted, a bit too loud. "I have more rights to be the one who punish him, South!"

Nesda stroke his silver blade menacingly, "…Oh, and who consciously ignored his wrongdoings?" his fingers wrapped around the hilt firmly. The East angel frowned at the taunt before he unconsciously placed his hand on his revolver grip, "I don't need you to interfere with my sector…" he managed a comeback. The air was intensified as both head angel was ready to strike at anytime.

"All right, all right, enough show, Fhit-fhit, Nessie…" Whyttier interrupted, his staff held both weapons from being unsheathed by their enraged owners. Nesda 'tch'ed, pulling his hand away from the blade and Fheite, still tempted to shot Nesda to the head left his revolver to remain inside his cloak. Neku was trembling in fear at the sight, its as if, they actually targeted him either than to kill one another. Whyttier sighed tiredly, silently hoped, everything would be okay for the poor boy.

"Now..Joshua, I always turn a blind eye toward you, but now…" he dryly muttered, "…the seal hasn't completed, yet…they just took his memories about you…so, your punishment is to complete the seal…" he put down his staff, turning it to point Joshua at one end and Neku at the other. Joshua's chain cracked open, releasing him who immediately ran toward Neku. The boy stayed silent, scrunched, but wide awake. He looked at Joshua, asking what's going to happen?

Choices…choices…Joshua could probably tear the higher planes apart, take Neku away and ran to anywhere, but Neku might relapse somewhere and died. Or he could play along, hiding the future he saw…he can't possibly destroy Shibuya, he won't! The future he has seen has to be wrong. This choice would leave Neku unharmed.

Neku was nibbling his lips when Joshua turned to him, unaware of anything. This is Neku in-between, to be sealed or not to be sealed. The boy stopped nibbling and tugged Joshua's arm, a worried look on his face. "Why are you crying?" he murmured.

"Ah…?"

His hand flew over his cheek. Wet. Warm. Something trickled down his chin. These are tears, he told himself. Why are they here? He rubbed his eyes. Tears. How long has he thought he has no tears? He has dried it up, on the day he knew about his power.

"Mister…" Neku tugged again, "…are you sad?". The tears keep flowing, rolling to his cheeks, "Why do I shed tears?" Joshua rubbed harder, his cheeks turned red. "Uh…because you're sad?" Neku replied, "…or is it because you want someone to know you're sad?"

Joshua shut his eyes, holding back the tears. You're crying because you want someone to know you're sad? That's pathetic…he thought. He forced a smile, tapping Neku's head a few times, revealing a series of notes from him. It's much simpler than before. The song has vanished, leaving only a trace of its former glory. Replacing it was a song…plain song a child could have. Neku stared in awe as the notes danced around him, he laughed. Innocently.

He snapped the notes shut, temporarily making the boy fell unconscious. Now, is where things get a little hard…he viewed the boy's soul, checking his vibe. The amount of it has decreased a lot, he traced the incomplete seal, poking a few leaked vibes inside and firmly locked it. Done, his punishment is finished. Whyttier clapped his hand, "..Good job, composer…". The composer grimaced at the praise, at least, now, Neku's safe. Grabbing his staff, Whyttier heaved it to the ground, "Despite the other option, you choose to obey…" he spun the wood staff, "…for that I respect you…" he circled the staff around Neku. A small light popped from it, chirping like birds. It made a giggling like sound and flew around Neku twice and vanished.

"In any case, Josh, stay away from him…that's the other punishment you get…" Whyttier smiled at the composer, sheathed his staff, gave Joshua an encouraging pat, "…don't even think of doing anything funny, unless you want him to die of 'noises infection'…" his twitched lips fell. "You already know the negativeness influence to him…as long as the sealed vibe stays shut, the negatives won't kill him…or as long as you stay away from him…" he turned around, waving his hand, "…I even added some protection for you!" he whispered.

"After all, you're such a great composer to find that beautiful song…you just need to limit yourself," the ponytail bobbed as his wings spread. Whyttier gave them all a mysterious smirk, "Well, see you again, composer…and my subordinates over there…" with a quick flutter of his wings, the bizarre leader has gone.

"Neku?"

He jerked up, collided with whoever woke him up. Rubbing his head, Neku saw his mother massaging her bump forehead from the crash. He slumped back to his pillow, pulling the blanket around him. A headache was coming, he grunted as the pain struck. The woman watched him struggling, her eyes were glassy. She can't give her own son a comfort hug. Since she found him lying unconsciously on the street, any little touch would make him shudder and scream. It took a lot of effort and neighbor stares for her to carry him inside his bedroom.

"Mom…?"

She nodded, even that Neku was facing the desk rather than her face. Hearing her son's voice was calming, "What happened?" Neku spluttered, a grunt slipped out after few words. "…well, you were…on the street, fainted…so I brought you home…" his mother answered. Neku quickly pushed himself up, sitting on the bed, puzzled.

"I ...fainted?" he rolled his eyes, "…weren't we just…had a quarrel, mom?"

"N..no…" she shook her head, "…actually, yes, and I'm sorry…"

"For what?"

"About trusting you…and about who is his name…Jo…jo something around that…"

"Who?"

"Jo..ua…I can't remember…"

"Who is him?"

His mother was stunned, she stared at her son like he has admitted he was a werewolf, "You said he invited you for a walk yesterday?"

"I d…I didn't remember!" screeched Neku, "…Who is Jo…or whoever that is…? Did I really mention someone whose name I didn't even remember"

Stunned for the second time, his mother rubbed her head. The way her son talks…changed. Change too much that she hates it now. His eyes usually rolled around, trying to avoid another person glare. Now they're staring, angrily toward her. The soft blue inside them has gone, they're now a bold one, as if daring her to try and hurt him.

"Neku…language!" she huffed. Neku folded his arm as the pain vanished, "…Nah…I talk the way I want it to be.." he scowled. "Neku…you used to speak 'properly'…"

"And now I'm not…what will you do?" a smirk.

"I…I need some rest…" the door flung open, "…stay inside, Neku! Behave just like a boy your age!" she pleaded before closing the door. Neku mumbled a 'whatever' in return. He plopped back to his pillow, snuggling inside the blanket. Who is Jo…or something with ua…? He glanced at the ceiling. It's so weird, like there's a few missing holes inside. If it has something with Jo…whatever-come-after-that, then it has gone. There's nothing about Jo.. he could recall. Shu? Yes, a nice friend. But Jo…

"Argh, I can't remember about that one…" he groaned loudly, shifting himself, "…strange…" he mumbled.

"Do I usually act this way?" he asked to no one in particular.

With a low growl, he was back to his dream.

,,,

This chapter was full of words and ended in conversation without narration...

No you never acted that way, Neku…you used to be so kii-iind, shy, and polliiiiteee…

(Neku: *grabs a whole set of pin*" I'm gonna kill you, trick or truth?")

I didn't explain that when they are in higher plane, Joshua reverted to his normal-self. Yeah, so he looks like a 23 year old man to Neku in higher plane. But he still has his trademark, ash-blonde fluffy hair and purple eyes, so its weird if Neku doesn't realize that. Oh, and if anything I put here, especially about the vibes, souls, imaginations, were wrong, please tell. Cause I can't literally copy what Sanae's secret report said and put it in here...oh, he didn't write it...*oh no* well, if there's something weird can someone tell me?

And from here on, it's an opposite Neku to be dealing with…the black Neku…(Neku: "Do I have a white one?"). Hope he learns to keep his mouth from rampaging the rating…