So I started this fic a couple days ago, and now it is finished! I had lots of fun writing it. The lyrics are from "Vanilla Twilight" by Owl City. It's p much their theme song. uvu So, without further ado, enjoy and review!
The stars lean down to kiss you
And I lie awake and miss you
Pour me a heavy dose of atmosphere
Neku sighed tiredly, staring at his ceiling as he tried to find sleep. It'd been almost a year since his death, since the Reaper's Game, since Joshua.
He'd never admit it, but not a day went by that he didn't think of the Composer. It was messed up how he could miss Joshua after everything he'd done to him, but he did. Stockholm Syndrome at its finest.
Neku had tried to forget, at the very least convince himself he hated Joshua, but... he couldn't. Even when he thought he did, gun trained on him and emotions wild, he couldn't pull the trigger. He cared despite all reason.
Flipping onto his side Neku sighed again, eyes following the ticking second hand of his clock.
Rest continued to elude him.
I'll doze off safe and soundly
But I'll miss your arms around me
I'd send a postcard to you, dear
'Cause I wish you were here
Shibuya was a city that never slept, a bustling nightlife full of life and sound.
Naturally, if Shibuya didn't sleep, its guardian didn't either.
Not for lack of trying, though; the dead just didn't rest as well as people thought. He falls into a state of half-sleep every few days, perhaps more frequently now that no one is trying to erase him and steal Shibuya. Still, sleeping more often doesn't mean much if he's not comfortable. He found that rest didn't come as easily as it had when his proxy was nearby, wrapping him in Neku's Music like a blanket. It was a warm embrace that became more soothing as Neku's world expanded, and Joshua found himself longing for it.
Part of him wished he could speak to Neku without complicating his life further. It wished he could tell him anything and everything.
It wished he could tell him that even the Composer gets lonely.
I'll watch the night turn light blue
But it's not the same without you
Because it takes two to whisper quietly
It was 4:46 and the sky was beginning to lighten, and Neku hadn't slept a wink. The night—morning – was too quiet, the Music he once heard so vividly somehow drowned out by the silence. He wondered if he could hear it better if Joshua was with him like he had been able to during the Game. Imagining talking to Joshua was something he did every once in a while, just conversing about little things.
"Why Neku, I never knew you to be so sentimental. I must say it suits you. Hee hee."
Neku frowned and willed away the Composer's voice. He missed talking to Joshua, but that commentary he could do without.
The silence isn't so bad
'Til I look at my hand and feel sad
'Cause the spaces between my fingers
Are right where yours fit perfectly
It felt quiet without his proxy's Music to listen to on loop, but what difference did it make? Joshua had been doing this for a long time, all that had happened was he returned to the same situation he had been in before his pact with Neku. It was no big deal.
He stared at his hand, feeling the phantom touch that seemed to linger. His nerves tingled when he recalled the times that Neku had roughly yanked it, whether pulling him away from Noise or out of whatever store Joshua had decided he wanted to browse. Most often he had absolutely no intention of buying anything, just walking around and waiting for his partner to get fed up and push him out of there. It was almost cute how frustrated he got, and Joshua made sure to point this out every time.
Those weren't the only times their hands had touched, however. On one occasion Joshua had laced his fingers through Neku's and leaned against him as they meandered the Natural Puppy store near Towa, contently sighing as he told Neku to hurry and get his pins so they could go home. The giggle from the sales clerk was enough to make him shake Joshua off and tell him to cut it out, but the brilliant flush on Neku's cheeks made the loss of contact worth it.
That time it was most definitely cute.
I'll find repose in new ways
But I haven't slept in two days
'Cause cold nostalgia chills me to the bone
He wasn't going to get any sleep, he knew that. As a matter of fact, Neku hadn't slept well at all this week, and he made sure to blame Joshua. Somehow it was his fault.
His weary mind wandered through all the other things that were Joshua's fault and stumbled upon his death. He shivered at the memory.
Time and emotion had obscured the memory, somehow able to feel the cold steel of the gun even though it had never touched him. A clear visual of his killer despite how frantic his mind had been when it happened. The sensation of getting colder and colder as he entered the UG which was impossible because his death was instantaneous. It was all there, engraved in his brain forever.
Would he ever be able to forget, let the years age it until it was a hazy image?
Drenched in vanilla twilight
I'll sit on the front porch all night
Waist-deep in thought
Because when I think of you I don't feel so alone
I don't feel so alone, I don't feel so alone
Joshua stood, stretching his sleepy muscles. He needed some fresh air, and the sewer was most definitely not the place for that. Focusing his mind on Pork City Joshua teleported, a lazy smile on his face when the breeze rolled over him. Dawn was in the process of waking Shibuya, and Joshua contented himself to lean against the roof's railing as he watched his people begin their day. The Music seemed to feel as lazy as he did, summer heat already starting to creep into the city, but it was a happy sound. Promising. Hopeful, if one managed to hear the flute that peppered the song. What an odd thing to hear in such a modern place.
As it seemed to be doing a lot of recently, the Composer's thoughts drifted to Neku. He wondered what Neku's Music sounded like today. Would it compliment the song he was listening to right now, or would it clash? Most likely the latter, given that stubborn nature of his. He chuckled to himself, relishing in his memory of Neku.
Thinking of the boy somehow made Shibuya feel more full… made his eternally still heart a little bit fuller.
As many times as I blink
I'll think of you tonight
I'll think of you tonight
"This is insane," Neku grumbled to himself, tossing his bedsheets aside and sliding out of bed. Fishing through his closet for something to wear, he grabbed his usual turtleneck and shorts and began dressing. It was only 6:15, but he'd be damned if he moped around inside and obsessed over Joshua all day. While he laced up his shoes his attention was caught by his large headphones. He secured them around his neck and plugged the cord into his MP3 player. Neku's father was no doubt already awake and eating breakfast, so he made sure to stop off in the kitchen and tell him he was going out. Sure enough he was there, suited up and making toast.
"Dad, I'm heading out."
His father turned around, puzzled. "This early? Usually you wouldn't have even woken up yet."
"Yeah, I just… there's a new CD being released today, and I want to pick up a copy before they sell out." It was a lie, but Neku didn't want to tell his dad that he couldn't sleep because he was thinking about a guy. What he didn't know wouldn't hurt him, right?
"Alright. Have a good day, Neku. I'll see you tonight."
"See ya." He shut the door behind him and was surprised to discover how warm it was outside despite the hour. As he walked he listened to the melody of birdsong traveling on the wind, deciding that he wanted to get some ramen. The walk to Dogenzaka was long, but he was already craving the taste of Ken Doi's noodles. With that in mind, he sped up his pace.
When violet eyes get brighter
And heavy wings grow lighter
I'll taste the sky and feel alive again
At some point Joshua had migrated from his perch on Pork City to the streets of Dogenzaka, weaving through the morning crowd and simply enjoying the life pulsing through the people. He'd lowered his Frequency so he could mingle with the living in the RG, not even batting an eye when he was bumped into by adults and teens alike. Snippets of conversation acted as lyrics to the city's song, simultaneously out of tune and perfectly synced. It was a wonderful sound, and he couldn't help but lose himself in it. It was only when a familiar, warm beat slipped in that he came to himself.
He focused all of his attention on the Music, gaze flickering around as he tried to hone in on it. It didn't take him long to find the source, and the head of orange hair was a clear mark.
Joshua had promised himself he wouldn't interfere again, wouldn't complicate Neku's life any further than he already had, but he'd already broken so many promises before, why stop now?
And I'll forget the world that I knew
But I swear I won't forget you
Oh, if my voice could reach back to the past
I'd whisper in your ear
"My, where are you off to in such a hurry, Neku?"
Neku froze, numb to the complaints of pedestrians telling him to move. Ever so slowly he turned around, mouth suddenly dry as he stared at the person who'd been plaguing his thoughts.
The Composer raised a hand to his mouth, laughing in that mocking way of his. "What's wrong, dear? You look as if you've seen a ghost. Is that any way to greet me after all this time?"
Finally finding his words, Neku hesitantly said, "Joshua…?"
"Glad to see you haven't forgotten my name."
"What…" Neku stared at him in awe. It took him a moment to realize he had stopped talking. "What are you doing here?"
"Can't the Composer step into the RG once in a while?" Joshua feigned nonchalance, examining his nails. In reality, he was just as stunned as his proxy, but he was determined to keep his cool façade. "I was thinking about getting some shio ramen. Care to join me?"
Neku looked away, rubbing the back of his head in a nervous gesture. His cheeks carried just a hint of red as he replied, "Uh… sure, I guess."
Oh darling, I wish you were here