( aaand, update! I'm not very good at fight scenes; in fact, I was having the most difficult time with that part. Sry for the long wait, enjoy)

CHAPTER 8

His bangs covered his eyes as he held her gently against him, feeling something stirring inside him that he couldn't seem to control. With his hair in the way, he could still see the spot on her cheek clearly; it was red spot, the place that he hit. Joshua lifted his head and glared at the leader, his purple constricted eyes glowing with fury as he started sprinting towards him. Frozen in place, he stared at the ash blonde teen with a familiar feeling that he could not seem to submit too. He hadn't had the time to notice the changes in his movement, which were his hands and other areas of his body were shaking slightly. Within in a split second, the tip of Joshua's shoe had made contact with his lower jaw. He stumbled backwards and fell to the ground, clutching his mouth as a small streak of blood, coming from his tongue that he bit down on during the impact, seeped between two fingers. He stared at Joshua with a stunned expression, but quickly snapped out of it and turned his attention to his band who was also shocked by the scene. Beat, who was laying face down on the ground; groaned and lifted his head to see what was going on, "Pr… Priss kid?" he said weakly.

"Don't just stand there, Get him you worthless twits!" the leader shouted out and the gang scrambled around, reluctantly obeying.

ssssssssssssssssssssss

Shiki ran next to Neku and helped him up on his feet, "are you alright?" she asked with a worried look.

Neku nodded and smiled, "yeah, I'm fine."

He looked up to see the action, thinking that he had to save two of his friends from the menace now or maybe not. Joshua was handling the situation surprisingly well, although he was being ganged up on, he dodged all of their attacks with his speed and light footing. Joshua's fighting tactics were smooth and each blow was precise and swift, successfully delivering painful hits to whoever got in his way.

Two members were coming from the opposite sides of Joshua. He jumped up and spin kicked them in the air. When he landed, he saw another one coming in front of him, aiming for his face. Joshua ducked down, and then punched him hard at the gut, sending him flying backwards into two more men who were behind him.

One, two, three members, all were going down at once, dwindling in their numbers. The leader stood still in place again, watching the scene unfold. He was trying to keep himself from quivering as he didn't like the feeling of fear coursing through him. It was something that he didn't quite understand, why had he become so afraid of him so suddenly?

Before he knew it, the battle had stopped, with the few gang members slowly backing away from the boy, that kid, the leader thought again, that damn kid, just… just what is he? He glared at the boy, and Joshua glared back. The other members, who were lying on the ground, began to stir, waking up to a slightly agonizing pain as they tried to lift themselves off the ground. The leader backed away and finally getting the idea, he turned and ran the other way. The rest of his gang followed after him, both limping and hopping along.

Taking this chance, Neku, Shiki, and Maiya ran towards Beat and examined the bruises all around his arms. He had one bruise on the left side of his cheek and under his chin, "I-I'm fine," he said, coughing a little afterwards. Neku placed his arm around his neck and tried to help him back on his feet. He then turned to Joshua, who was still standing in place, his back towards them. They all turned their attention to the composer, not exactly knowing what to do, or what to say. The word, 'thanks' doesn't appear to be enough. For Shiki and Beat, because of the memory of the game, they're not sure if they could trust him as much as Neku does.

Neku noticed that he still looked tense. His body was still and his fists tightened, you still want to fight, I bet,, thought Neku.

"Joshua…"

Joshua blinked, feeling his rage drop upon hearing her voice. He breathed to make him relax, and then turned to the gang behind him. Maiya was in front of them, Neku and Shiki hanging on to the battered up Bito. He brought his attention to Maiya, who stared at him like she'd seen a ghost. He sighed, and his eyes softened.

Ssssssssssssssssssssssssss

The group made their way across the bridge towards Cat Street, Joshua in the lead. Nobody talked, except Neku and Shiki who kept checking on Beat to make sure he's content, "it isn't far now," said Shiki.

"Look, ya guys don't hav'ta worry about me. It's not like the first time I've been in somethin' like that," Beat grunted. Maiya lagged behind, hands wrapped around the other, walking silently as she followed. She slowly moved her head up to see Joshua, or at least the back of his head. She frowned then turned away from him again with a thought in her mind that bothered her. She glanced over at the other three, keeping that same thought in mind, maybe… no, can't be. But it could be possible.

"BWAAAAH!"

She heard Beat cry out. Maiya and the whole group were standing in front of a Café, "Wildkat?" she whispered. Beat struggled and tried to pull Shiki and Neku back, "no way, Rhyme is in there, I can't let her see me like this!"

"man up, she's gonna see you like this either with or without bandages," said Neku and as if on cue, Rhyme burst out of the café calling her brothers name with a worried look on her face.

"BWAAAH!" Beat cried out again, and then shoved his two friends away, completely standing on his own, "sup' Rhyme," he said, smiling as if nothing ever happened.

"Beat look at you! What happened?"

"Nothin' it's no big deal,"

Rhyme crossed her arms and looked at him sternly, waiting for an honest answer out of him, "we were confronted by gangs," said Joshua suddenly and plainly, this was the first time he's ever said anything the whole trip to the cafe, "and apparently he got carried away."

Rhyme gasped, walking up closer to take a look at his arms, neck, and face, "lets take you inside, I'm sure Mr. Hanekoma can do something about those,"

"I'm fine! I don't need-" Beat had almost collapsed and would have fallen if it weren't for Neku and Shiki. He used them to balance himself again, sighing as a sign of defeat, "aight, let's just… go," he said feeling exhausted. Rhyme turned and glanced at Joshua. She stared at him for awhile, not out of fear, but with curiosity and wonder. This was actually her first time meeting him in person, and with all the things she heard about him, in her eyes, he didn't seem so bad. She smiled at him sweetly, as her way of saying, 'nice to meet you' then made her way back inside the café, the two of her friends and her brother following behind. Neku peeked back at Joshua before he went inside.

Now the two of them are completely alone, Maiya quietly walked to Joshua's side, both of them turning away from each other once they made a one second eye contact. They stood there, thinking of what to say to one another. Joshua glanced at the window where he could see all the action taking place inside. Neku, Beat, and Shiki all sat at a table while Rhyme went to the back, he was guessing that's where Mr. H was at the moment. Now it seems as if Neku said something that caused Beat to erupt. His body is exhausted, but his mouth isn't.

"So… that's Beats little sister," said Maiya, breaking the silence between them, "she seems, very wise. And responsible,"

"Well, she is the heart of the group, after all," said Joshua now looking at her from the corner of his eye and smiled.

"And what are you? Their last minute hero?"

"Me?" Joshua questioned, and then ran his fingers through his hair, "being a hero sounds like hard work," he said flipping his hair to the side.

Maiya laughed. Joshua chuckled then placed his hands in his pockets as he turned to her, his eyes softened as he spoke, "you were waiting for me… weren't you?" Mayia turned away again, confirming it. He sighed and scratched the back of his head, of course she was waiting, why wouldn't she be? He closed his eyes and sighed again, "… I'm sorry. That I made you wait for me. Something… something happened and I guess I couldn't-"

Before he could say anymore, Maiya had interrupted by wrapping her arms around him, making him almost lose his footing.

"I've missed you so much," he heard her say.

Joshua was suddenly lost at the moment. Being human, he felt his own heart pump more blood into his system faster and faster. Disgusting, but it felt good at the same time. He gazed down at Maiya, and then finally hugged her back, "… Ive missed you, too."