(okay, I think I've finally got enough sleep to not screw this chapter up… I think… I dunno.)
The group ran onwards towards the Towa Records, stopping to take a rest in front of the tall yellow music store. Beat had kept them running since Hachiko, with the girl's dedicated on keeping each other together and Neku jogging lightly just to keep the gap short. Joshua, on the other hand, kept his distance when following Neku and finding his thoughts very amusing knowing that the poor dear has taken an interest to Maiya and her relation ship with him. He seeks way too many answers for way too many questions.
This time Joshua made sure not to go overboard with his powers this time, unless he wants to get scolded by Mr. H again, and that's something he'd gladly avoid doing, though, sometimes it's highly unlikely.
He stood by and watched Neku close up the gap, running towards Shiki who was trying to breathe calmly. Beat stood further away from the group, hands on his sides, and occasionally looking back at his band of friends. Joshua shifted his attention to Maiya, who was looking at the music store, hands behind her back, and smiling at the yellow building. Joshua couldn't help but smile himself.
"Hey Joshua, what are you doing?" said Maiya who knelt in front of the young boy. Joshua blushed and turned away, holding the piece of paper and pencil close to him, "oh… nothing, it's nothing,"
"Oh come on! What's that paper? Are you drawing something?"
"Well… I guess you can say that," he said looking down at it. Maiya swerved around and stopped next to him. She tilted her head to the side, looking confused at what he just did. Joshua could only giggle at this, "Don't tell me you've never seen music notes before."
The little girl blinked and turned away embarrassed, "o-of course I have," she lied. He chuckled a bit, then jumped off the velvet colored couch, then he walked towards the grand piano that is resting farther away from the couches and chairs in the large living room, and right next to the windows in the Yoshiya family's house. He pulled the piano chair out and climbed up, he then lifted the cover of the piano that hid the keyboards, clean and shiny, and ready for use, "remember the poem you read to me yesterday?" Joshua said. Maiya nodded, "the one that my mother would always read to me every night, to help me fall asleep,"
"Yeah, well… I kinda thought about it… a lot and I decided to write some sort of a melody for it," he turned the knob on the side of the chair so that the seat can be at a lower level. With his feet being able to touch the pedals, he rested his hands on the keyboard, closed his eyes, and played.
It started off slow, then it quickly picked up with Joshua reciting the poem, or rather singing it.
Maiya had never heard Joshua play the piano and now that she had the chance, she found the experience amazing and light. She felt happy, yet sad. Strong, but weak. Joshua had turned her mothers poem into something so alive, like it was a living, breathing person. She wiped a lone tear that was crawling down her cheek, and then made her way towards Joshua. Together, they sang the rest of the poem all the way down to the last note,
~Even through cloudy days. You are not alone. ~
He slowly exhaled as the group had moved onwards. There he stood, with no attempt to follow. He honestly didn't know why he was following them in the first place, she probably has that effect on me, he thought as he turned around, facing the opposite direction. Suddenly, the static, scratchy noise rang in his ears again. He shut his eyes as he placed a hand on his head, while he leaned on a building to keep him from falling. That didn't work did it?
Getting dizzy, Joshua fell on his knees and tried to shake off the noise he was hearing. His breathing became fast as if he had been running a marathon, "what's going on?" he said to himself. He grunted as he lifted his head, the headache he was trying to endure grew more and more painful. A flash of mixed light caught his attention and before he could turn around to see what's going on, his mind gave in and found himself fading away to the darkness.
Neku turned swiftly only to see a flock of birds fluttering upwards, their wings beating the air rapidly as they took off. He squinted his eyes to the spot where the birds were resting before; he could see small sparks dancing here and there, all with different colors. He shook his head and rubbed his eyes, then glanced back at the spot again. This time, nothing.
Hearing Shiki, Neku snapped out of his delusion and turned back to his friends. Beat ran ahead as he called back to them, waving his hand up in the air, "I'll just meet'chu guys at the Miyashita Park underpass. Don't be late! Especially YOU Phones!"
Shiki shook her head while putting her hands on her hips. She pouted and glanced back at the others, "I'll run after him to try and slow him down,"
"You sure you can keep up with that guy?" said Neku
"What, you think I can't?" Shiki then ran after Beat, calling after him, "we should really stick together!" she yelled.
"Beat sure seems like a handful," Maiya giggled to Neku, causing him to chuckle himself, "we'd better catch up."
The group of two made their way towards the underpass entrance, seeing Shiki and Beat waiting patiently for them, "bout' time yo," they heard Beat say as they headed on. Oddly enough, only a few cars have been passing through, occasionally they'd see more, but it seems that this is a rather unfussy day for the underpass.
Neku couldn't pull his eyes away from the graffiti inside, realizing that some of them were different since the last time he came this way. In fact, a new one would pop up almost every single day.
He turned to look at the other graffiti's on the opposite side, and noticed that Maiya seemed to be lagging behind, looking at the graffiti herself. He slowed himself until he was walking beside her, "you know what I think?" she said, "I think the graffiti makes the place a little more lively. Some, not so much I guess,"
"Yeah," Neku said, no knowing what else to say about the art surrounding the place. It was silent between the two of them for awhile until Neku broke it off, clearing his throat he spoke up, "so… about that kid,"
Maiya blinked then turned away from him sadly, "so you do know him," Neku said again.
"We use to be next door neighbors back in France,"
"mmm hmm. our homes was on the edge of Paris, a little bit away from the busy streets," she giggled at another thought that came to her, "when we were little, Joshua would get us into all kinds of trouble,"
"hmm… go figure," Neku mumbled to himself.
"I didn't mind, as long as he got out of it with safety and honesty,"
"Honest?" Neku scoffed, "I don't think that word fits,"
Maiya chuckled at that knowing what Neku meant. She calmed down and continued, "Well… I think so." Her smile faded as the memory of him leaving crawled in her mind, "… before he left France, he told me that if I ever come to Shibuya, he'd be there at Hachiko. Waiting for me, it was a promise. Funny how it was the other way around,"
"But, you did get your chance to-"
Neku cut himself off as Maiya suddenly stopped, her hair covering the side of her face. Beat and Shiki stopped ahead and looked back at them, puzzled, "hey, what's going on you guys?" said Shiki in a worried tone. Neku just stared at Maiya, confused at first, but beginning to understand, how long ago did you get here? He thought, knowing that she probably had been waiting for the sassy kid for some time.
The other two looked at each other, then went to join Maiya and Neku, all four of them oblivious to the eyes that were watching them.
He moved around a little before blinking his eyes open. His vision was blurry at first, but quickly recovered, enabling him to check his surroundings. Turns out, he was in a narrow alley, empty with a few pieces of scattered trash. He propped himself up and away from the side of a building he was leaning on too, "what happened?" he told himself as he rubbed his head. After he found his balance, he stepped out of the alley and realized that he is still near the towa records, someone moved me. He tried to recall what happened before he passed out but came up short. He rubbed his head again; shaking the last bit of dizziness he had left, wait a minute! He thought. He looked around for Neku and the others as he ran out and searched high and low for them, now pushing his previous thoughts aside, Joshua decided on trying his luck elsewhere, I'll think about it later.
"Well, well, look what we have here,"
The group turned to see a tall man walking towards them, a sinister look on his face as he approached. He wore a black sleeveless shirt with a black vest, torn at every edge. He also wore black jeans and shiny black shoes, had piercings on the ridges of his right ear and left eye brow, and one big strand of hair looped down, almost covering his right eye, "do we know you?" asked Neku, getting a menacing laugh from the guy,
"well, I don't recall knowing you. But it looks like I'm about too," he held his hand up and snapped his fingers. Suddenly, others like him walked out of the shadows, positioning themselves around them so that they're surrounded. Beat gritted his teeth and curled his hands into a fist as he turned and laid his gaze on them. Neku remained calm and observed the situation, obviously they could mean dangerous business, but what exactly did they do? Maybe they don't need a reason, after all, everyone is familiar on how gangs operate, "look, we've got nothing valuable on us, so picking on us would be a big waste of your time. Now if you'll just let us pass," said Neku.
"I beg to differ. We don't want any valuable goods… let's just say, we're looking for something to keep us busy, to practice our strength on, and to let us be known throughout Shibuya,"
"How disgusting, why don't you go and pick on people your own age," said Shiki
"Like I said, little weaklings like you are good practice for us,"
"Weak?!" yelled Beat, "looks like the other way around ta me. Y'all just standin' around tryin' to intimidate us. You're all bark and no bite,"
"You must want to go first in line,"
"Beat! Shut it! Let me try to reason with them," growled Neku, but it was already too late to stop him. Beat charged at one of the gang members and side rammed him to the wall making a huge cracked up dent. The rest of the gang members were a bit shocked by the Bito's strength, but quickly recovered and charged forward. Neku and the others called after him, but it seems that Beat is defending himself pretty well despite the large number of them. That was until he accidently made himself wide open while trying to break someone's arm off. He was hit on the side, almost causing him to lose his footing. Before he could charge at the other guy, he was hit again from the back. Soon he finds himself being knocked all over the place. Beat got one or two hits, but that wasn't enough to move around the mob. Every step he took, he'd get punched or kicked around, and by the time Beat fell to the ground was the time Neku rushed in to save him, or at least tried too. His punches weren't as hard as Beats, but they did land a good blow for them to pause before trying to hit back. Neku almost made his way near his friend before someone grabbed him from behind and pushed him back, his back hitting the cold hard cement. He felt himself being picked up off the ground by the collar of his shirt and held up high, "don't worry, I promise you'll be up next," The leader grinned.
"Put him down!" yelled Shiki, trying to throw her own punches all over the guy. He just grunted and harshly pushed her aside, "get out of the way."
Maiya ran and knelt down next to Shiki, then glared at the man before running up and trying her best to free Neku, hitting and kicking as best as she could. She succeeded by hitting his shin on accident, causing him to lose his grip on Neku. The leader recovered quickly and focused her attention on Maiya, "now you got me pissed," he said as he lifted his hand and swiftly swung it across her face, knocking her over to the side.
She was expecting to hit the ground any minute, but instead, she landed on something firm. She could feel her shoulders being wrapped gently so that she wouldn't lose her footing. She opened her eyes and found herself still standing with the support from the person behind her. With the leader frozen in spot, looking confused, Maiya tilted her head upward to see who it was and was surprised by the sight of him, "Joshua," she whispered.
( im pretty sure, most of those who read this know exactly what song they were singing.)