You Easily Run Out Of Paint
NekuxShiki fluff. Post-game.
The world ends with you. Makes sense but... I don't want my world to end. I'm just beginning. Open up your senses.
Summer Week 2, Day 1
"Aren't you a little too early for tomorrow?"
"Cut me some slack. Dad wasn't exactly on the green light when he found out it's just the two of us."
Another day. Another meeting. Another experience. The alabaster dog's hardened fur shone in the sunshine of promise. People passing by had their own stuff to do, place to be, and dream to achieve. However, there was only this couple per say, who would share a specific goal just for this day. The boy in a white tee and tattered jeans had been waiting for her. He would always wait for her as she would for him. The girl wore a white shirt, below the knee shorts and sandals, she came a little later than him. And who could forget the breathless third? It was clutched securely in her arms, black but not blemished, soft but not weak, a stuffed cat but maybe a piggy.
Summer hit it off last week and not much has happened. They were supposed to hang out for the whole break but the Bito siblings already had the first month booked elsewhere, non-refutable. Day one was killer boring. It only took a look at the Udagawa mural to get his gears going. Neku had eventually decided on a summer project and even got Shiki to go with it. It's just for a day. The awkward part is that, it's going to be at his house, given that he's latchkey kid.
"Scared we'll do something?" He smirked. He wanted to get a reaction from her.
"No, he's scared you'll do something." She sighed.
"What if I will?"
"Sh-Shut up! I know you're not like that." She blushed when she finally got the hint and slapped his arm lightly. Mr. Mew was still snugly cuddled in her left arm. "So are we going to watch paint dry or what?"
"Your call, Shiki." He dropped the haughty attitude and went back to being Neku and shrugged. Nonchalantly, he took her hand and headed to his place, all the while fighting the heat rising to his cheeks. It was harder when after the initial embarrassment; she even laced her fingers with his. It was an interesting walk to say the least.
They eventually got to the house and Neku reluctantly, though he won't admit it, let go to get the door. Neku's house was an oddity. It wasn't cold to visitors, it had better furniture and it didn't give off the abandoned vibe but there was something off about it. It wasn't warm either. You get the welcoming feel but it's just not deep enough. Maybe that's just what happens to homes which aren't always full, homes like Neku's. Shiki glanced at him at the thought. It does say a lot about him but it's not the whole picture. Neku's different now ever since the Game. He's definitely a lot more sensitive to others' feelings. She giggled a bit.
"What? Was there a photo I missed?" The first time she came over he completely forgot to hide all those picture frames with really cheesy shots of him. He's still holds a grudge at his mom for even putting them up in the first place.
"Nope, just reminiscing." She smiled at him. Not just sensitive, he can be a bit touchy too.
"I'm not buying it." He raised an eyebrow at her but he let the topic go. "Sure you don't want anything?"
"No, I'm ok." She lightly shook her head which made Mr. Mew say otherwise as it bobbed its head.
"If you're not cool with something just give me the sign." He offered and went straight for a room, confident that she would follow.
Shiki was a frequent visitor to the place mainly because it was a mutual thing. She'd come here when she was bored or he would go to her place when there was nothing better to do, sometimes they'd meet halfway and meet up at Hachiko. They didn't do much on these occasions just mostly talk or even do nothing. Just having the other there was enough. Going back, she pretty much at least knows the rooms in Neku's house so when she went after Neku she half-expected to see his room. Blue tinted walls with CAT-like scribbles, a basket of clothes shoved to one corner, a study desk where he often dozed off on, a decent bed where she'd always sit on with a blanket she had sewn, a cabinet half-filled with Jupiter of the Monkey threads, and a working ceiling fan. Aside from the fan, everything else was newspaper wrapped and crammed against a wall which he had previously just painted. On another side of the room were a steely step ladder, two buckets of paint and some brushes.
"At least someone's been busy."
"Not really. I got lazy."
"So you called me for help."
Neku suddenly got the urge to redo his room, since he didn't want to call it a makeover. He said that before he gets himself into arts he needed to practice. He needed not just any blank canvas. He wanted a white room. If you think about, he does have a point. Shiki's room screamed everything about her dreams and aspirations of becoming a seamstress, from the shelves of stuffed animals to the closets of Eri-designed clothes and even to the fabrics and threads lying on the floor. She grabbed a brush. He was really excited, in his own composed way, about the idea. She wouldn't want to disappoint.
Mr. Mew was opted to stay on the comics' page of the desk. It didn't need any more white spots. She dabbed the brush and painted a strip in a vertical motion. Up and down. Up. Down. It was pretty mechanical, the same method Neku did on the other wall. Not so fun doing that. He snatched his own brush and made his way to the other end of the wall Shiki was on. The distance was annoying but he'd close it in their own time. He worked his way painting towards her, it's only when she accidentally bumped into him that she noticed he wasn't at the far side of the room.
"Sorry." She apologized meekly.
"No prob." He shrugged and continued painting beside her. It didn't take long for her to notice that he was brushing haphazardly, with no pattern whatsoever.
So she stepped back and her eyes behind glasses widened. She stepped further back. There was a musical score lazily wafting from one end and abruptly stops to where Neku was. Aside from that, there was a feathery angelic wing next to where she supposed she was standing a while ago. Neku smirked and placed his hands over his ears, a signature pose when he had his headphones. He completed the piece. Shiki was amazed beyond words but she did manage to utter a few. "Show off."
Neku grinned. "That's because I can. Unless you got something to say."
"Actually, I don't." Shiki stormed to get her own artisan paint brush just like the one Neku has in his hands. "You can have that wall." Because she started painting on another one. She started off with just one flower with hearts for petals but she ended up making a garden within minutes. Neku on the other hand, had his own ideas.
"I think it's better that we share." And with just a few strokes he managed to create a noise of a bunny with a graffiti style for the whiskers and hind legs. It was menacingly cute.
"Neku!" She pouted at first but then yelled. "Get that thing away from my happy place."
"Your… happy place?"
"It would've been if you hadn't drawn that there." She sighed. "Never mind. I'm fixing this myself." Modify was a light term. She had somehow altered the rabbit noise and rendered it unrecognizable from its original form and completely adorable.
"Uggh, Shiki!" He groaned. Way to ruin his first work of art.
"Just because I can sew doesn't mean I can't draw." She placed her hands on her hips to emphasize her point. "And I won't go easy on you the next time you invade my space."
"It's still my wall though. So I wouldn't call it yours." He straightened with one of his spikes.
"I think the bunny pretty much proves my point."
"Screw that. We're sharing this wall."
The paint war was on. It was a battle of imaginations, creations and wits. Shiki displayed her young talent as she drew simpler, rounded and cute designs. Neku was more daring since most of what he did was a little rough but they were loud in concept. They'd throw in a couple of snide remarks and then draw again. Repeat. The wall was a pitiful sight. Their works just clashed, not at all understanding of the other's style. Soon enough when they reached for another dip in the second bucket, it was almost clean. They apparently used up all of the paint on just one wall.
"Well, that was…" Shiki bit her bottom lip.
"A waste?" Neku grimaced. Two cans of paint and they didn't even finish a single wall.
"A lot of waste." She nodded and then her hand covered her mouth as she started to feel giddy. "And a lot of fun."
"Most expensive fun I'd had in years. Do you have any idea how much a can costs?" Neku joked with a lopsided grin. She really had this calming effect to him.
"Aha… Ahahaha!" It started out as a grin which soon broke out into laughter. She pointed at him, still shaking from the giggles. "There's paint all over you." Then she doubled over and her legs gave in from laughing as she sat on the covered floor. "You even have a whole spike covered in it!"
"What? Where?" He awkwardly played with one of his front spikes then he realized his fingers had spilled paint on them. That explains how he got a white spike. He must have looked like some sort of freaking unicorns. He crossed his arms and did an inspection as well. "You got some on your nose."
"What? No way." She vehemently wailed her hands in front of her.
"Yeah there is. Now don't be stupid and let me wipe it off." And his hand went close to her face. She tensed a bit. Shiki thought he'd do something cliché as to put some paint on her nose but she didn't expect his hand to miss. Neku took off her glasses and began wiping it with a clean rag. "My bad. They were on your specs. For someone with glasses you're kinda blind not to see the blots." He handed it back afterward.
"Thanks." Shiki shyly wore it back again. Some old habits die hard. He could be harsh with words but his heart was in the right place. Two heartbeats. "I'm getting the last wall."
Neku just watched her almost dash to the other end of the room. Did he do something? He shook his head and started to clean up. Shiki was nice but being with her was better. Made him feel like he has a heart. Before he met her, he was just some jerk, another idiot among the ones he'd call idiots. All he needed was himself and he was fine with that. Then she just had to keep up with him and kept pushing his horizons until his world grew. And she became his world.
She was very fixated in whatever she was drawing and he thought that was good. He took out an industrial paint brush for a thicker width of strokes. Five strokes. Four above head and one striking down right beside her. And he was done. She took a while before she got hers done but he didn't complain and just waited for her. This wasn't something you should rush. Then as if on cue, they both scanned what they just did. Shiki had made a chibi Mr. Mew, all the while oblivious to what Neku did. He drew an open umbrella with a small heart on top. And from how they were at that moment, they were standing under it. Shiki was blushing as she was taking in what all of this meant while Neku nervously rubbed the back of his neck.
"I love it." She whispered in awe.
And that's all it took to give him that extra push. "I love you."
Even under the painted umbrella, they were defenceless against the rain. Shiki's eyes poured and Neku had to take off her glasses before gently wiping the tears away with caressing thumbs then hugged her to his chest. He wasn't supposed to make her cry. But it's only when she sighs and breathes again then smiles at him with a follow-up of those three words that he feels relieved and at the same moment she takes his breath away. She was beautiful, she was Shiki. Neku may be pushing it but he kissed her again. All the while, Mr. Mew, still atop that desk, saw this happening, it saw it coming.
They weren't just partners or friends anymore. They were more, so much more. They were in love.
The world ends with me but when I'm with her, I get the feeling that the world begins with us.