"Ten... Nine... Eight..."
Joshua stood motionless, one hand in his pocket, and the other firmly holding the revolver at the end of his outstretched arm. The same old empty smirk remained on his face as he watched the one across from him.
Neku, some fifteen feet away, kept silent, his arms hanging in front of him, barely grasping the gun in his hands.
It was now Joshua noticed there was movement on Neku's end – he was trembling, ever so slightly. Common trepidation, Joshua thought; after all, Neku had never murdered someone before.
Joshua's finger coiled itself around the trigger. It's not like he would need it, but he gave his word to shoot if Neku didn't. But Neku would. Joshua had taken everything from him. His memories, his friend, even his life. And now he was forcing him to kill another human. If one could call Joshua human. Joshua would not call himself human. Not because of his powers, but because no one could be so cruel and so numb to others and still be called human.
Finally. Four more seconds and it would be over. No more endless days filled with nothing but lies and mistrust and isolation.
Then, he saw them. The steady stream of tears falling from Neku's eyes and onto the ground. Joshua blinked once in surprise – but again, he supposed it wasn't out of the ordinary for someone who had never taken the life of another.
Neku quickly raised his arms, tightly clutching the revolver in both his hands. He met Joshua's gaze, his vision clouded over by his tears.
Neku's arms shook violently and Joshua reflexively pulled the trigger of his revolver, as Neku had surely just done.
The proxy's arms fell limp in front of him, before he staggered back once, and fell forward.
Joshua's expression remained unchanged as he slowly lowered his arm, his eyes still fixated on the one he had just shot. Neku struggled to lift his head, meeting Joshua's gaze once more before his vision faded to blackness and his head fell limp onto his forearm.
Somewhere, distantly, Joshua was aware that Mr. Hanekoma had appeared next to him. But his eyes remained fixated on Neku's lifeless body, and the pool of crimson blood starting to gather beneath him.
"Phones..." Mr. Hanekoma sighed, his voice quiet and saddened. "So... this is the end of Shibuya."
Joshua said nothing at fist, but took a few steps forward. "Mr. H... I wish to be left alone."
"Should I take those two?" He asked, eying the unconscious Shiki and Beat in the distance.
Joshua gave a slight nod. Within a second Shiki and Beat vanished. There were no further words from Mr. Hanekoma, and Joshua felt his presence vanish behind him.
And again, he was alone. There was nothing in the Room of Reckoning save for himself, and the body that used to be Neku. For a moment he simply stood there unmoving, his eyes still rooted on the one he had just killed.
The sound of the gun hitting the ground pierced the silence as Joshua dropped it from his hand. He then walked over to the corpse in front of him, the dead air making even his quiet footsteps quite audible. Steadily, he knelt at Neku's side. The still warm blood seeped slightly into the knees of his jeans. He placed his hands at Neku's blood-soaked waist, pushing him up and turning him over so that he laid on his back. Joshua pulled his hands back, now dyed red.
Neku, of course, was still and lifeless. His eyes were shut, and if not for the gunshot wound and the blood covering his torso, he could have possibly been asleep – though possibly in the middle of a nightmare, Joshua thought, as his expression seemed somehow sorrowful.
"Why didn't you shoot me?" He stared his proxy in the face as if that would make him more inclined to reply. He knew, of course, that this corpse would give him no answer. "I don't understand," he continued, for reasons he couldn't even explain to himself. "I took your memory. I took your... friend. I'm the reason you've suffered these past three weeks. Don't you hate me? What, did you think you could trust me? Look where that got you – I killed you, again." He paused, taking a deep breath. "The world is filled with lies, and you can never hope to know the truth by talking to someone else. We can never truly understand each other. You knew that too. You were so similar to me, and on top of that your Imagination was something else. You were the perfect proxy. ...And then you changed."
The air was heavy. Joshua continued to watch Neku; his somewhat unkempt auburn hair, the pale complexion of his face that was losing color by the second. "'Trust your partner.' Even in the end, you did, didn't you?" Joshua asked quietly. "Even when you found out I had been deceiving you this whole time."
Mindlessly, he brought one of his hands to the side of Neku's face, brushing it with the back of his fingers rather than the blood-stained side. Joshua had not had many occasions to touch Neku, save for some times fighting Noise, and, of course, when he pushed him out of the way of Minamimoto's attack – but he could distinctly remember that at all those times Neku's skin had had a strong warmness to it. Now, though, he was growing cold. His hand fell from his face down to his neck, still and without a pulse, until eventually Joshua's touch fell to the wound on Neku's chest. He became still a moment, his eyes wandering from the wound, to Neku's face, then back to his chest. "You've changed, Neku," he said slowly and almost inaudibly. "...Do you think Shibuya can change, too?"
Then he turned his hand over, his fingertips glowing lightly. With a feather-light touch, he slowly ran his fingers down the wound. Neku's torso began to emit the same soft, white light, and suddenly where there was a hole in his chest there was nothing but perfectly healthy skin, where there had been a tear in his shirt there was seamless fabric, and where there had been bloodstains and a puddle of it beneath him, there was nothing.
Steadily, Joshua lowered his palm flat onto Neku's chest. He closed his eyes in concentration for a moment or two, until he began to feel it: the faint beating of his heart, and the familiar warmth beginning to return to his partner's body. He looked back up at Neku's face. "I'm sorry, Neku," he murmured.
With a slight reluctance Joshua turned Neku back over onto his stomach, before standing up and walking a bit of a ways off. "Mr. H," he called.
A second later a white light shined next to him and took Mr. Hanekoma's form. "You called?"
A wide smile stretched across Mr. Hanekoma's face. "You got it."
Joshua turned, facing Neku once more. He saw his head pick up, and his bright blue eyes flutter open. And then Joshua met the gaze of his partner, his mouth curling into his same, small smirk that Neku knew well.
A familiar giggle reached Neku's ears, and then in a flash of light, he and Mr. Hanekoma vanished, and Neku felt himself whisked off in an all-too-familiar fashion.
A/N: Yeah I'm sorry I had no idea where this was going I just started mindlessly writing in Psyche and I typed it up and tried to bring it to some kind of conclusion;; I beat TWEWY for a second time last night so I'm kinda full of TWEWY emotions. thanks for reading uwu