"Myde?" The other Neku whispers, and then he hugs him.
Everyone stops and stares. The other Neku is shaking, sniffling into Myde's dirty black sweatshirt, and Myde has a bewildered expression on his face. He hesitantly pats the head of spiky orange hair, which just makes the other cling tighter to him.
"Um... are you okay?"
Finally the other Neku lets him go, but he reaches up to rub the tears from his eyes. This is the most emotion they've seen out of the other Composer ever, and frankly it's freaking Neku out. "Where did I go so wrong?" He mumbles to Myde. "Look at what I've become." He gives Myde a relieved look. "I thought you were dead?"
"Uh, sorry, but I'm... not quite sure what we're talking about?"
The other clutches his chest again, eyes downcast. "Don't you remember? I asked you to meet me all those years ago in Udagawa, and you... didn't make it. If it wasn't for me, you would have still been alive... but here you are. Did you play the Game and come back to life?"
Myde is visibly confused. "I played a game," he says. "Although it involved a lot more darkness and heart stuff. And I do remember dying, but, I'm alive now! Sorry I can't really remember," he apologizes. Neku can see Joshua twitching out of the corner of his eye.
"It's okay. I didn't really remember much after I died, either." He presses his lips together in a small, shaky smile. "You're alive now, and that's what matters." He sniffs again. "You were my best friend. I blamed myself so much for your death, and now... look at me." He turns to face everyone, and Joshua flinches as they make eye contact. "I think... I'm a monster."
"I just wanted to feel better. I wanted to keep others from feeling the way I did. Your world is so... interconnected. I was, I don't know, jealous? And scared. How can a world like that survive? Surely it would be better off my way." He sighs, shoulders slumping. "But now, I don't know what to think. I remember you, by the way," he addresses Joshua, who narrows his eyes defensively. "You... didn't put up much of a fight. You seemed to have a lot of faith in me... I'm sorry I let you down." He coughs, gingerly sitting down on the pavement.
"Myde?" A faint tinge of memory sneaks into the back of Neku's mind. "That friend from so long ago... that was you?" Myde chuckles nervously.
"I guess so?" Neku smiles faintly.
"I can't believe I didn't even recognize you. Your hair is... different." Myde laughs outright at that.
"Neku." Joshua says, and both Nekus look at him. He focuses on the one sitting down. "I can't... can't forgive you. Not yet. This past few weeks have been... exhausting for me. Learning to trust people..." his gaze meets Neku's. "Having that trust broken..." Hanekoma coughs awkwardly behind him and looks away. "But even so, I think I've grown because of it. And you have too. So we'll let you go. Are you still running the Game back in your world?"
"Who is your Conductor?"
"Um... Konishi?" Joshua scoffs and waves a hand.
"Fire her immediately. She'll turn on you in a heartbeat." He shakes his head. "Anyway, the point I was going to make was that you're still the Composer. You've had a change of heart, and that'll reflect in the city. The nice thing about living organisms is that they heal themselves over time. It'll take a while, but Shibuya will return to her former glory. I guarantee it."
The Neku sitting down casts his gaze over the others. "T...Thank you. I... really don't deserve your pity."
"Hell yeah you don't," Neku chimes in, walking over. He looks down at his alternate self. "You tried to hurt my friends. You tried to destroy our city. You don't belong here." The alternate Neku shuts his eyes tightly.
"You don't belong here." Neku repeats. "Your world is waiting for you to return. You belong there." He stretches out a hand. "We can't forgive you... but we trust you. We trust you enough to rebuild our city."
Aw, Neku... Joshua smiles affectionately at him. I always knew you had a way with words.
Shut up, he thinks back.
The alternate Neku reaches out hesitantly, then draws back for a moment to take the headphones off his shoulders. They're scratched up and worn out, obviously well-used. He leaves them on the cement and grasps Neku's hand. Neku pulls him to his feet.
"Alright. I'll go back. Fix things. Thank you again," he says, eyes watering a bit. "And I'm so, so sorry." The raven Noise swoops down again, depositing the Black Saturn pin at his feet. He picks it up and closes his eyes. The pressure in the air builds a bit, then he blurs out and vanishes, like someone erasing pen off a wipeboard.
"Neku!" Shiki's voice rings out. She runs over and tackles him in a hug. Rhyme and Eri join in, and Beat, not one to be left out, jumps on all of them and brings them to the floor. "I'm so glad you're okay," Shiki cries. Everything that's happened sinks in at once, and a huge grin breaks out over his face.
"Hey, everything turned out all right after all." After untangling himself from the pile of limbs, a wave of relief washes over him as he glances from cluster to cluster of people. The two field Reapers have converged on Sho; Uzuki has him in a headlock, and Kariya is smirking and has an arm slung around his waist. The Grim Heaper himself looks rather pleased that his plan had worked, although it hadn't quite finished the Composer off as he had hoped.
Myde's avian friend has found a new perch on his head, seeming incredibly comfortable among the nest of blonde spikes. Myde himself seems relaxed, although still a bit baffled as to what is going on.
Hanekoma is murmuring to Joshua. It looks like Josh is slightly less irritated with him, although their bond is not as obviously close as it once was. He catches Neku staring and smiles coyly. Then he holds up a hand to stop Hanekoma's rambling, says something short, and walks over.
"Can't keep your eyes off me, can you?"
"Shut up," Neku grumbles with no malice. He turns to Shiki and... oh. Well, they're making out. On the floor. Beat is not only covering his sister's eyes, but his own as well. He rolls his eyes. "Couldn't you two have waited until later?"
Eri flips him the bird. "We almost died, so screw you Neku. We do what we want!" Joshua snickers.
"I like her already."
Mr. H approaches them, politely averting his eyes. "I called the mayor and told him the lockdown is no longer necessary, so unless you two are into public exhibitionism I suggest we go back to the cafe." Shiki blushes hot red.
"Ah! What about Zexy?" Myde asks, raising his hand.
"The bird," Neku adds by way of explanation. Joshua hums.
"Let me try something." He reaches out and puts his hand on the raven's chest. The markings on its wings and face slowly fade out, until it looks like just another ordinary crow. "Now he belongs to the RG, so you can take him indoors." Myde grins and the raven caws happily.
A murmuring sound starts to build as people begin to exit the surrounding buildings. Hanekoma pushes up his glasses.
"All right, let's head back. Anybody want some coffee? I'll give you a discount!"
"After all we've been through? You're giving that coffee to us for free, Sanae," Joshua retorts. Everyone laughs.
In another world, the sound of laughter is heard for the first time in months.